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Four to Read More — Doomsday Cults

Four to Read More — Doomsday Cults

And now we present Four to Read More, mini collections of four books that share some common theme, whether it’s the name of a character, a cover design quirk, or something else. Inspired by Kelly Jensen’s “Three on a YA Theme” series at Book Riot (take a lookwe’ll wait!), this series will highlight some books you may have missed on the shelves.

This time around, we’re looking at a popular trend in YA books lately: doomsday cults, formerly utopian communes, and other intentionally insular communities.

Disappear Home by Laura Hurwitz
Shoshanna, her sister, and mother have escaped her abusive father and the Sweet Earth Farm. But now their mother is unstable, and they need to flee again.
(availabile on Overdrive ebooks)
Starbird Murphy and the World Outside by Karen Finneyfrock
Starbird leaves the Free Family Farm when she gets her Calling to become a waitress. But she’s not quite ready for things like school, money, or junk food.
(available in print and on Overdrive ebooks)
The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
This is a thriller about a polygamist cult centers around Kyra, a 13-year-old who is told she must become her uncle’s seventh wife. She doesn’t know much about the outside world, but the discovery of a library bookmobile opens a new world to her.
(available in print)
Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle
Vivian’s parents joined the Church of America, which predicted an apocalypse. The morning of the event comes, and Vivian goes to wake up her parents–but they’re gone, and there’s a hole in the ceiling above their bed.
(available in print)

Do you have an idea for a Four to Read More theme? Email us and let us know!

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Boovish Dictionary

Boovish Dictionary


In honor of Adam Rex’s The True Meaning of Smekday and the release of the movie adaptation, Home, Castilleja students compiled a helpful translation guide from Boovish to English (the language of the Boov). Take a look to see what your name means in Boovish! Don’t see yours here? Tell us what it means in the comments below.

  • Aly; pumpernickle
  • Anaïs; moist
  • Ananya; indecisive
  • Anika; slimy
  • Anna; variegated or thief
  • Bridget; epic
  • Brooke; river
  • Catherine; to smile
  • Charlotte; moist
  • Christy; anime fan
  • Dani; awesome
  • Elisabeth; dinglehopper
  • Ella; shiny
  • Ellie; cheese
  • Emmeline; wing
  • Georgia; carrot
  • Grace; to jump
  • Honor; noodles
  • Izzy; sarcastic
  • Jas; life
  • Jenna; movies
  • Julia; fabulous
  • Kaavya; broccoli
  • Kate; root beer
  • Karly; spiky
  • Kayla; bae
  • Kelly; twinkie
  • Kiana; round
  • Kristen; eccentric
  • Laura-Ann; ice cream
  • Lauren; peach or mac and cheese
  • Leila; crocodile
  • Lila; to run
  • Linnea; danger! get out of here!
  • Lishan; buttons
  • Mabelle; bunny
  • Marisol; cat
  • Maya; fishy
  • Megan; boots
  • Mili; human
  • Minhee; humanscar
  • Molly; heart
  • Naira; the most amazingly awesome person in the universe
  • Roxy; fabulously perfect
  • Sam; cat or awesome
  • Samina; potato
  • Sara; the feeling of not being able to remember a word
  • Sarah; nothing or vivacious
  • Sophie; to smile
  • Tevah; colorful
  • Winter; summer
  • Zoe; upside down

Now, you can make whole sentences using Boovish. The following Boovish was overheard in the library:
“I grace for joy when you wear your tevah megans with lishans!”
Translation: “I jump for joy when you wear your colorful boots with buttons!”

Linnea! That kaavya is too charlotte and anika!”
Translation: “Danger, get out of here! That broccoli is too moist and slimy!”

*Image: Left: drawing of J.Lo from The True Meaning of Smekday by its author, Adam Rex. Right: reimagined as Oh in the movie Home.

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Delving Into American History

Delving Into American History

I love American history. I have enjoyed each of the US History classes I have taken at Castilleja but I have often wished that I could spend more time exploring a specific person or period in history.

One example is Eleanor Roosevelt. I was amazed by her confidence, strength, and ideas. In my history class, we talked about how she wrote newspaper columns, spoke up for the causes that she cared about, and as a result changed what it means to be the First Lady. I wanted to understand more about the causes that she cared about and her life. I went on a hunt for a good book about Eleanor Roosevelt at the Castilleja library. I quickly came across a book that compiled all of her column pieces, speeches, and essays. As I was looking at this book in the back corners of the library, I realized that there were so many other books written about different historical events that I was interested in. I thought that as we start preparing for the US History AP Exam that it would be fun to compile a list of books exploring the foundation of our country to the modern era. If you get bored of making flashcards or reading the textbook, come to the library and check out one of these books. They are for sure going to help prepare you for the exam! :)

17761776 by David McCullough focuses on the beginning of the American Revolution through the perspective of “men of every shape, size, and color, farmers, schoolteachers, shoemakers, no-accounts, and mere boys turned soldier” on both the American and British side (1776). This book focuses on the military aspect of the war instead of the political. This is a great book to understand the birth of our country. As the New York Times stated, the book “is a lucid and lively work that will engage both Revolutionary War bores and general readers who have avoided the subject since their school days.” Check this book out to understand the people who made up this war!



americancenturyHarold Evans, the author of The American Century, wanted to write a book that was “an accessible popular political history,” and that is exactly what he did with his book. American Century focuses on the last 100 years of American history. It is 736 pages of pictures, posters from the period, and articles explaining everything that has occurred in the United States in the last 100 years. This is a great book to flip through and find information you might not be able to find in Brinkley. It also has amazing photos of events such as the building of the Panama Canal, Native Americans, and life in America for the last 100 years that you cannot find in Brinkley. This is a great book to randomly flip to a page to find information you fun facts about our country! Who knew William Howard Taft’s wife organized the plantation of 3,000 Japanese cherry trees in Washington DC?! Here is a New York Times review with more information:

courageWere you excited to hear about how Eleanor Roosevelt changed the meaning of the first wife? Do you want to learn more about the woman who challenged society norms during her time? Well here is the book for you! Courage in A Dangerous World: The Political Writings of Eleanor Roosevelt edited by Allida M. Black is a collection of Eleanor Roosevelt’s political writings from her columns, articles, essays and speeches. There are many books that have been written about Eleanor Roosevelt, however, this is written by the woman herself! This is a great book to deeply dive into the 1930s through the perspective of the one of the most known and influential woman of the time!

Some other titles I think you should look at:

The Metaphysical Club by Louis Menand (American philosophy from 1865 to 1919)

That Used to be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back by Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum (globalization and futurism)

Ar’n’t I a Woman? Female Slaves in the Plantation South by Deborah Gray White (a look at the daily lives of slave women in the 19th century)

By Molly L. ’16

Slider image from

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Upcoming Bay Area Literary Events

Upcoming Bay Area Literary Events

Spring has sprung, and that means new book babies to adopt and love! See some of your favorite authors up close and get to know some debut ones, too.

challengerApril 14, 7:30pm, @ Kepler’s
Are you one of the many students who read Francisco Jiménez’s fascinating memoir The Circuit? He has more stories to tell. He will visit the bookstore to present his fourth memoir, Taking Hold. Learn what happened as he left California to go to college.

April 20, 5pm, @ Kepler’s
We know you love the Unwind series. Its author, Neal Shusterman, is back with a new book called Challenger Deep, illustrated by his own son. This is not to be missed!

April 20, 7pm, @ Books Inc – Palo Alto
Anybody who loves music and realistic fiction will want to check out author Leila Sales, who will present her latest book, This Song Will Save Your Life, and celebrate its paperback release.

April 21, 7:30pm, @ Kepler’s
Shame on you! Shame on you? Author Jennifer Jacquet will talk about the concept of shaming and guilt and present her new book on the subject, titled Is Shame Necessary? New Uses for an Old Tool.

April 21, 7pm, through A Great Good Place for Books
Superstar YA authors Gayle Forman (If I Stay) and Jay Asher (13 Reasons Why) will host an important awareness event and fund-raiser on suicide and mental illness.

blackreckoningApril 21, 7:30pm, @ Booksmith
Passionate about banned books and censorship? Come to this event, featuring Daniel Handler/Lemony Snicket, Mariko Tamaki, and more.

April 24, 6:30pm, @ Book Passage – Corte Madera
John Stephens, author of the popular series starting with The Emerald Atlas, is releasing the final book in the series! It’s called The Black Reckoning. Come celebrate the finale with the author at this event.

April 28, 7pm, @ Kepler’s
Alternate history meets futuristic dystopia in Sabaa Tahir’s new book, An Ember in the Ashes. If you like adventure, strong female heroines, and secrecy, you’ll have to try this book. Meet the author at the bookstore!

Amber Tamblyn

April 28, 7pm, @ City Lights
You know Amber Tamblyn from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but did you know she’s also a poet? Her new book of poems explores the lives – tragic, inspiring, and creative – of 25 well-known actresses, like Marilyn Monroe and Brittany Murphy.

April 29, 7pm, @ A Great Good Place for Books
A whole panel of YA authors will appear to get you excited about their latest books! Susane Colasanti has a new romance trilogy, beginning with City Love. Maria Dahvana Headley’s debut novel is called Magonia. And Katie Cotugno presents a romantic novel called 99 Days. Do you love love stories? Then be here.

May 2, all day, everywhere
It’s California Bookstore Day! Visit your favorite independent bookstore and support local business by buying a new book for yourself or a friend.

May 9, 11am, @ Book Passage – Corte Madera
Women’s history has never been this rad. Meet authors Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl, whose new book, Rad American Women A-Z, is a colorful, vibrant collection of inspiring ladies’ lives.

May 9, 4pm, @ Books Inc – Opera Plaza
This amazing YA event has more than 15 authors on the docket. Meet them, learn about their books, get your own books signed, take selfies…it’ll be a blast!

Sophia Rossi and Zooey Deschanel

May 14, 7pm, @ Books Inc – Opera Plaza
Romance stories abound at this event – which will also include cupcakes and a raffle! Meet Sandy Hall (A Little Something Different), Katie Van Ark (The Boy Next Door), Temple West (Velvet), and Kimberly Karalius (Love, Fortune and Other Disasters).

May 18, 7pm, @ A Great Good Place for Books
If your eyes light up when you hear someone talk about HelloGiggles, you’ll want to read A Tale of Two Besties, written by HelloGiggles co-founder (and Zooey Deschanel bestie) Sophia Rossi.

May 22, 6pm, @ Book Passage – Corte Madera
Did you know bestselling author Jodi Picoult also writes YA? Her co-writer, Samantha Van Leer, is her daughter! Their newest book is called Off the Page, and they’ll appear at the bookstore to tell you more about it. (This is a ticketed event starting at $25.)

June 2, 7pm, @ Books Inc – The Castro
Local author Michelle Tea will celebrate the release of Girl at the Bottom of the Sea. It is the sequel to The Mermaid in Chelsea Creek.

June 4, 7pm, @ Kepler’s
Described as Graceling meets A Game of Thrones, The Witch Hunter is the debut novel from a local author. Come to this event to meet Virginia Boecker!

June 5, 6pm, @ The Reading Bug
If you love historical fiction, you’ve probably heard of Jennifer L. Holm. Or maybe if your favorite comic book series is Babymouse, you’ve heard of her. Either way, she’ll be appearing to tell you all about her upcoming projects, give you behind the scenes info on her characters, and more!

June 6, 11am, @ Book Passage – San Francisco
If you love literary-inspired adventures like Story Thieves or A Tale Dark and Grimm, you’ll want to know debut author Jennifer Chambliss Bertman and her new novel, Book Scavenger.

June 13, 7:30pm, @ Mrs. Dalloway’s
Attend the launch party for Delicate Monsters, the newest book by Stephanie Kuehn! This Bay Area writer is also the author of Charm & Strange and Complicit.

June 18, 7:30pm, @ Booksmith
Lev Grossman’s The Magicians series recently came to a close, and with the paperback release of the final novel, Grossman will appear to talk about the whole series and maybe even give you a sneak peek into the TV series, premiering on SyFy in 2016!

July 1, 7pm, @ A Great Good Place for Books
The Anne of Green Gables of this generation may just be Ana of California, the debut novel from Andi Teran. Ana leaves southern California for northern in search of a better life.

Have you gone to one of these events? Tell us about it!

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