I’m Reading…

Last year in March, I switched over to using Goodreads for logging the books that I have read. You can follow me there. Anything that I think is particularly good for HS students, I will (try to) also include here.

March 2014- Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell- I think I like this one as much as Eleanor and Park. It’s a bit similar. About halfway through.

March 2014- Texts from Bennett by Mac Lethal (not his real name)- The narrator is a mildly successful white rapper and Bennett is his cousin. Mac lets Bennett and his mom move in when their house gets taken back by the bank. Bennett claims to be a gangsta and his entire persona is completely inappropriate. This book contains strongly offensive language.

March 2014- Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell- Just started this last night. I’ve heard lots of rave reviews, so I’m excited to start it. Stay tuned for more. UPDATE- I loved this book! The author does a great job of capturing the feeling of being 16 and falling in love. The confusion and cluelessness of the characters is spot on. I didn’t love the ending; no spoilers, just a statement.

March 2014- Catch Rider by Jennifer Lyne- I picked up this book because it had a horse on it. It was totally predictable, but still enjoyable. Lots of horse show stuff that reminded me of my days of showing horses. Very easy reading level and good character development.

March 2014- The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau– I (heart) dystopian fiction! This one is very similar to The Hunger Games, but still an excellent story. And, like HG, it’s a series. Teenagers from different districts must pass testing to enter University. Sounds kind of familiar, right?

February 2014- Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger- Sequel to The Devil Wears Prada. Main character Andy has moved on with her life, has a husband and a thriving magazine of her own. She and her business partner Emily encounter their nemesis Miranda Priestly again. Nothing life-changing about this book. Lifetime movie in print.

February 2014- Rock On by Denise Vega- After reading Fact of Life last month, I picked up another by this author. The main character, Orion, is in a band and living in the shadow of his older brother. He has to find out how to be his own person and live up to his potential. There are interesting flashback parts and some parts that look like the band’s blog page. Fun book.

February 2014- Unsouled by Neal Schusterman– This is book #3 in the Unwind series. It continues just where the last left off. This book… I really can’t write much about this without giving up what happened in the last one. Just read them. This series is really good! And makes you think.

February 2014- Trafficked by Kim Purcell- The main character, Hannah, is a young girl from Russia who dreams of coming to America, working and sending back money to help out her grandmother. Her parents were killed in a terrorist attack. She ends up working as a nanny for a family, but soon realizes that she is more of a captive than employee. Good suspense and fast plot.

January 2014- The Market by J.M. Steele- The basic plot of this book revolves around a high school near the end of the year. The main character discovers a website, set up like the stock market, that ranks the girls in the senior class. She and her friends set out to win at the Market.

January 2014- Paper Towns by John Green- I really love John Green. Although this book was kind of similar to Looking for Alaska, I still couldn’t put it down. Green writes interesting characters that you feel like you already know.

January 2014- Fact of Life #31 by Denise Vega- Just randomly picked this off the shelf at the library and really liked it. Sometimes that happens! Enjoyable (although kind of predictable) YA fiction book.

January 2014- Allegiant by Veronica Roth- The final book in the Divergent trilogy. It did not end the way some of us would like. But still an amazing series of books. Thanks KC for lending me this one!

December 2013- Unwholly by Neal Shusterman- This is the sequel to Unwind and more dystopian YA fiction, which is fast becoming a favorite genre of mine. Same cast of characters, with the addition of a Rewind.

December 2013- Insurgent by Veronica Roth- The sequel to Divergent and equally as awesome. Such an interesting plot and action filled. Waiting for the next one.

December 2013- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I didn’t finish this one. It’s really long (700+ pages) and densely written. Lovely prose, but not an easy read. I will come back to it at a later date.

December 2013- Divergent by Veronica Roth- LOVED this book! Action, interesting characters, fast-paced story; it’s got all that. I’m excited for the movie and have started the next book in the series.

November 2013- Looking for Alaska by John Green- This starts like a typical YA book, but takes a seriously different turn in the middle. The thing about Green’s characters is that they are very round. Just when you think you understand what they will do, they surprise you. Excellent coming-of-age book.

November 2013- The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult- I had to break up with JP after reading My Sister’s Keeper (the ending was pants). This one was better. Complicated plot told by several narrators against a backdrop of Nazi Germany and modern America. Renewed by faith in JP as an author.

November 2013- The Birth House by Ami McKay- This is set in Nova Scotia during WWI. The main character learns midwifery and becomes important to the women of this small town. This author portrays the hardships of being a woman through her historical fiction. Tough subjects, but an easy read.

October 2013- This Glittering World by T.Greenwood- Another good book from Greenwood. This one features a male protagonist who is questioning his life and his personal decisions to remain with his girlfriend. He finds a murdered boy outside his house and this leads him to the boy’s sister. Their relationship develops as the rest of his life falls apart. Great story and interesting point of view from this protagonist.

October 2013- Southern Living by Ad Hudler- Every once in a while, I need to read something fun and fluffy. This book certainly fits that description. It follows three women in Selby, GA as their lives intersect. It’s funny and even though it’s fully of Southern stereotypes, it was a fun read.

September 2013- Grace by T.Greenwood- This is the second of her books that I have read and I really liked this one. This is the story of a family with a troubled son and the “perfect” daughter. The son gets blamed for a string of awful things and the father makes the decision to kill him. It is told from several points of view and all of the characters connect in the end.

September 2013- This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz- This book is actually a collection of connected stories about the same family and Yunior, the protagonist. Yunior has real problems growing up and keeping a relationship. The author portrays cultural issues and economic problems within the Dominican community.

August 2013- Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick- Loved this book! The main character, Arn, survived the Khmer Rouge takeover of Cambodia. He saves himself as he travels from labor camps to refugee camps and finally to America. The story is told from his voice and the diction reflects that of a non-native English speaker.

August 2013- Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich- Another from my “to read” list. Luckily this had a family tree at the beginning because I had to refer to it so many times. Seemed a bit disconnected, although some episodes were really interesting. Took a while to finish it as the chopped-up plot moved slowly.

July 2013- The Hungry Season by T.Greenwood- This story of a family dealing with the loss of a child is very well written. The child is a twin and Greenwood writes the surviving twin perfectly. The parents are also grieving and their points of view are also shown. Hunger is a metaphor, and the reader can make all kinds of connections to that idea.

July 2013- The Marriage Plot by Jeffery Eugenides– This book was on my “to read” list for a while. I dutifully read it and it took a long time. Two of the three main characters were well written, but I had a hard time really caring about what happened in their story. If the female protagonist had been more complex, it would have made the story much more interesting. Mainly I was glad to finish it.

July 2013- 17 and Gone by Nova Ren Suma– The story of a 17 year old girl who is visited by spirits of girls that have gone missing. Very good book and one that I didn’t want to put down.

June 2013- The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian– Very interesting point of view study with a great twist at the end. References to The Great Gatsby. I also listened to The Night Strangers by the same author. Also great for point of view and excellent plot development.

June 2013- Unwind by Neal Shusterman– Really great book! I’m excited to read the next one. I love the dystopian future stories.

June 2013- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee– I was probably the only English teacher in Rochester who had not read this book. I’m glad I finally read it. Very good story and there’s some excellent “literature” stuff there also. Ninth graders will enjoy reading this in 10th grade.


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