My its Monday post today links up through the good people at teachmentortexts and unleashingreaders who play host of other bloggers recommending great books to read each Monday. I have a small list of books that I really enjoyed this week.
Books finished this week:
This is a coming of age tale of a adolescent growing up in Britain in the early 1980s. Jason has a tough time with speech issues, navigating a rigid clique/social structure that includes some nasty bullies, dealing with his parents’ marital issues and a host of other issues that young people endure in finding their place. It’s strongly written, introspective and powerful, although the language makes me not recommend it to kids I teach. It’s more of a YA/Adult read from an author that typically writes for an adult audience (his novel Cloud Atlas was made into a fairly successful movie).
This book had some of the same issues as Black Swan Green in that there was bullying and people finding their place in a cliquey high school. This one had a bit of a gimmicky twist though in that the main character Chase was a football playing bully until he bonks his head in an accident and wakes up with amnesia, a changed guy. Chase feels the pull of his old life and to go back to his old ways, but is also making friends with a new crowd that includes some kids that he had formerly terrorized. This makes for some interesting choices that Chase needs to make about who he was, who he wants to be and how best to get there. Its a quick read and an interesting plot but I sometimes found that characters a little too stereotypical.
I was fortunate enough to get an early copy from Net Galley, and from the author. I actually don’t read a lot of books that have the label spooky. I was never drawn to books like Goosebumps, although I have them in my library and classroom. I think this would be classified as a moderately spooky book for middle grade readers, but like The Nest by Kenneth Oppel, which was so popular in my room two years ago, this book has a lot of other things going for it.
Like the other books I have for this week, this one features a plot in which a character needs to figure out where they fit, in this case after a move from Florida to Chicago, and the main character, Tessa manages to stumble her way to some really good friends in her first few days in Chicago. The book has the spooky elements such as suspected ghosts, a walk in a cemetery and a spooky old house full of noises and mystery that I think students will find engaging, but I also enjoyed the way friends and family were shown to support characters at some point and not so much at other points. The writer was able to show how that support created hope, and bravery and also the impact that the absence of such support had. I look forward to purchasing this book for my school when it releases on October 10.
Another book about the new kid in town. In this book Miles Murphy wants to recreate his reputation as the town’s prankster in his new locale. However, his plans are turned on their head by a more sophisticated and covert boy operating in that capacity. Its a fairly short, quick paced romp that is packaged for the Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans. There are some funny moments and some caricature, particularly of the principal. Although I didn’t like this as much as Wimpy Kid, it was a fun read that I think some early intermediate students will enjoy.
My youngest continues to read the sixth in the Amulet series to me. There are a couple of subplots at this point and some are less enjoyable but the overall story and artwork are great. Easy to see why so many kids love this series. Our family is working through the fifth Harry Potter book and enjoying it. There’s a lot more politics in this one, which is my youngest is just okay with but there are also some evil teachers and the prospect of a Quidditch match soon so all is well. Sunday I started Stand Off, Andrew Smith’s sequel to Winger, very much a YA title. It was quite easy to fall back into the world of Ryan Dean, a rugby playing, 15 year old senior at Pine Mountain Academy, a west coast prep school. He is a hilarious character, and Smith’s writing is one of a kind. Its a little on the raunchy side, so this one does not make it to my elementary school.
I still have some of the same books at my night table as last week (Princess Academy and Minrs 2), but I decided for a YA/Adult break which I typically have before school starts. I also have Thomas King’s The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America that I might start. Most of these books are on my #MustReadin2017 list of which Stand Off represents the 33rd book (of the 66 on my list) that I will complete. Happy reading everyone!