Tag Archive | ya

More Summer Reading

Well, I am not going to lie.  I am reading much less this summer than I thought I was going to.  Wedding planning has taken over my life.  With that said, I have read 10 books since school let out and 43 books in 2012, so I am proud of that overall!  I have read a few other books in the last few weeks that I want to share my thoughts on.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

My amazing co-teacher Jacqueline, one of my go-to book people, told me about this book.  Veronica Roth raved about it on her blog and Jacqueline was looking forward to reading it.  The price was reasonable on my Nook so I downloaded it.  I am torn on this book.  There are things I loved and things I was not too crazy about.  I love that this book is set in Russia.  I am so intrigued by Russia and love books from there.  I am really not sure why; I just do.  I was also very interested in Alina’s world and learning about the ways of the Grisha.  It was incredibly fascinating to dive into this brand new world.  I was also impressed with the writing in the book.  However, some things did bother me.  First of all, Alina’s excessive whining about herself – she is not pretty enough, she is not good enough, there is some mistake about her.  That was a bit much.  I know she is a teenage girl, but she honestly had nothing to positive to say about herself.  I also would have liked to know more about her and Mal’s past but I supposed there could be more revealed in later books.  There was also a lack of action for me…too much build up of the main conflict.  However, I overall enjoyed the story and am interested in reading the rest of the series. 

Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo

I downloaded this book last summer for a beach read but fell into Divergent instead.  I wanted something fun and light-hearted to read so I went back to this.  Overall, I enjoyed the book.  First of all, anything in London will have me hooked.  I like the information I learned about Austen and references to her books.  I also appreciated the ending as it was not what I was expecting and not what is usually found in “chick-lit.”  I gave this 3/5 stars of Goodreads because ti was fun and I enjoyed it but there was really nothing that blew me away.

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

This is another books that has been sitting on my TBR pile for over a year and was also recommended by Jacqueline.  I was hooked throughout most of the book.  I had never heard of Vel d’Hiv before, so this was educational in that respect.  I also think it could be a good title for some readers for my historical fiction project.  I really liked the book when it alternated between Sarah’s story as a young girl – heartbreaking as it was – and Julia’s life in 2002.  It was fascinating learning stuff about the even as Julia did and I wondered if it is viewed with as much passiveness in Paris as the book suggests.  I was starting to lose interest in the end and wasn’t sure how it would end up.  It was very different than I expected but overall I am glad I read it to learn more about WWII history.

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

It is hard to be reading YA and teaching high school without hearing about Dessen.  With that said, I only ever read one of her other books Just Listen.  I have three of her books in addition to What Happened to Goodbye in my classroom and they do get checked out on a somewhat regular basis by my female students.  Something was really pulling me to this book over the others.  I absolutely loved it!  I love the character of Mclean.  She seems so real and likely to be in my classroom.  Her struggle to find out who she really is definitely speaks to high school students – or even me when I was a college graduate!  The other characters in the story were likable as well.  Of course Dave was fun but I also had a strong connection to Deb; must be the type-A personality.  Many of the characters were rather complex which made them very fun to read and get to know.  I can see this one being popular next year in my classroom.

I have a number of books sitting on the TBR pile still for the summer.  Currently, I am reading The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.  I also cannot wait to sink my teeth into Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness, the sequel to A Discovery of Witches.  I hope to be sharing my thoughts about these and other titles soon!

World Book Night 2012

Today I took part in World Book Night 2012.  I came across it by complete accident a few months ago on Twitter.  Sherman Alexie was promoting it as one of his books was one of the 30 books to choose from to give out.  The premise of WBN is that passionate readers, Book Givers, give out books to light or non-readers to help promote a love of reading and to pass on the passion.  Today is Shakespeare’s birthday, the inspiration for this night.  I signed up, was chosen, and gave out copies of The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

I have to admit, I was a little nervous giving the book out to students when I first started.  I mean, what would they say?  The would probably think I am crazy.  But then again, I am the crazy reading teacher so, I would be totally ok with that.  I gave a lot of books to former students.  They were students I remembered not to be crazy about reading and usually groaning about SSR.  I also gave most of my books to male students.  I did not mean to discriminate but I think this book can do a lot to reach male students.  I also gave the book to students in my class and of course, today was a dedicated SSR day.

Some students did not seem to know what to do.  The first two students I gave a book to, two juniors I had last year at sophomores, seemed confused even when I explained it to them.  I fear they may have just stuffed them in their lockers.  One student flat out refused to take a book from me.  That hurt a little bit but I pushed on.  Unfortunately, one book was found abandoned in the hallway.  I was very sad about that.  However, I quickly found a new owner for that book.

Most students were pleased though.  A former student working on his senior project came to borrow books from the author he is focusing on.  I gave him a copy of the book and he genuinely thanked me for it.  He said he would give it a try.  Some students that I caught in the hall thanked me and told me it was nice.  They promised to read it for SSR.  (One teacher sent a student back to get more information about where the book had come from.)  One student, part of a due I refer to as ‘Double Trouble,’ wanted to make sure he was getting a book since his sidekick received one.  (These two spent the majority of SSR last year reading Captain Underpants.  I explained this would probably appeal to them.)  Another student started reading it right away during SSR in our class and said he wanted to read it every day since I had given it to him.  I conferred with him today and he said he was liking the book and wanted to give it a try.  (The number one compliment on the book was that it had pictures.)  I hope to see the books around more in the possession of my students.

I am glad I got to take part in this event and hope to do so again next year.  It sends a strong message to people and I am all for anything that promotes reading.  I am a proud book giver and will continue to strive to get books in the hands of light and non-readers for years to come.  I hope many of us are inspired to pass on the love of reading through strong books throughout the years.

For more information on World Book Night America, visit: http://www.us.worldbooknight.org/