#IReadYA Week WoW: What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.  It’s designed for bloggers to spotlight the upcoming releases that they simply can’t wait to read.

Here are a few reasons I look forward to reading this upcoming YA release:

  • Jessica Verdi is the author.
  • I’m a fan of pregnancy stories told from the guy’s point of view.
  • There appears to be a slight element of mystery.

What You Left BehindTitle & Author: What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi

Release Date: August 4th, 2015

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Summary (From Goodreads):

It’s all Ryden’s fault. If he hadn’t gotten Meg pregnant, she would have never stopped her chemo treatments and would still be alive. Instead, he’s failing fatherhood one dirty diaper at a time. And it’s not like he’s had time to grieve while struggling to care for their infant daughter, start his senior year, and earn the soccer scholarship he needs to go to college.

The one person who makes Ryden feel like his old self is Joni. She’s fun and energetic—and doesn’t know he has a baby. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to keep his two worlds separate. Finding one of Meg’s journals only stirs up old emotions, and Ryden’s convinced Meg left other notebooks for him to find, some message to help his new life make sense. But how is he going to have a future if he can’t let go of the past?

Scholastic’s #IReadYA Week

As you know I’m a YA lit lovin’ adult and will continue to be for as long as I can see/hear to read. So I jumped at the opportunity to partner with Scholastic and bring attention this year’s #IReadYA week. I plan on joining the fun as much as I can; I hope you’ll join me!

 

Scholastic’s #IReadYA week is a celebration of all things YA! In support of this week, Scholastic will be holding daily challenges beginning today and running through Friday the 22nd. By participating in the challenges, you earn the chance to win some really fun #IReadYA prizes including: #IReadYA tote bags, tumblers and free YA books!

GifPrize (1)

These daily challenges are a lot of fun, and range from describing a YA book only using words that start with the same letter (e.g. Harry helps Hogwarts, hefting horcruxes), to sharing YA reaction videos/memes (I wish I was good at this!).

IReadYA Banner

Also, some of your favorite YA authors will be participating right alongside you with impromptu Twitter chats, Tumblr posts and more.

To become a part of #IReadYA week and take part in the daily challenges, just click here:

Scholastic’s #IReadYA Week

IReadYA Sign Up

 

 

Students Love Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes

A few months ago I started a staff book club so more teachers could read and get together to discuss books that will appeal to our students. One of the books we read is Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes since all of us enjoyed Gone Girl. It’s a fun mystery that I enjoyed reading. When I book talked it in class I told my students that it’s a lighter than Gone Girl, but similar in the sense that it keeps you guessing. It’s only been a month since I brought a copy to class and I haven’t seen it since. It’s been passed between five different students in my first A block class.

I love seeing a book become a hit among my students, so I asked four of them (it’s still with the fifth reader) to write a sentence or two summing up their thoughts about Liars, Inc. Almost every one of them read it within a day or two, many saying they stayed up late reading.

Liars, IncJacob and Will said:

“Liars, Inc. was a great story. I enjoyed it; I couldn’t put it down. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes reading.”

“A great book, kept me guessing the entire time.”

Cory and McKenzie said:

“Liars, Inc. kept me reading all night and kept me guessing the whole time. A great book for anyone who loves a great mystery.”

“Liars, Inc. was impossible to put down. Every time you think you know what’s going to happen you change your mind.”

Summary (From Goodreads):

For fans of Gone Girl, I Hunt Killers, and TV’s How to Get Away with Murder.

Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up a boring senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts Liars, Inc. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?

When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.

Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit? In a story that Kirkus Reviews called “Captivating to the very end,” Paula Stokes starts with one single white lie and weaves a twisted tale that will have readers guessing until the explosive final chapters.

 

Book Trailer Thursday (168)–Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt

Book Trailer Thursday

Retellings don’t always work for me, but Tiffany Schmidt’s retelling of “The Princess and the Pea” has me intrigued. The summary and book trailer for Hold Me Like a Breath remind me of Unwind by Neal Shusterman, which I loved, so I’m hopeful that Schmidt’s third book will be great as well. Regardless, I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of this book.

Hold Me Like a BreathSummary (From Goodreads):

Penelope Landlow has grown up with the knowledge that almost anything can be bought or sold—including body parts. She’s the daughter of one of the three crime families that control the black market for organ transplants.

Penelope’s surrounded by all the suffocating privilege and protection her family can provide, but they can’t protect her from the autoimmune disorder that causes her to bruise so easily.

And in her family’s line of work no one can be safe forever.

All Penelope has ever wanted is freedom and independence. But when she’s caught in the crossfire as rival families scramble for prominence, she learns that her wishes come with casualties, that betrayal hurts worse than bruises, that love is a risk worth taking . . . and maybe she’s not as fragile as everyone thinks.

Waiting on Wednesday–George by Alex Gino

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.  It’s designed for bloggers to spotlight the upcoming releases that they simply can’t wait to read.

I’m excited about today’s featured upcoming release for a couple reasons. First, I don’t know of too many middle grade novels that have an LGBT protagonist. Second, a few of my friends have already read George by Alex Gino and are raving about it. I’m suprised more of my friends haven’t added this to their Goodreads TBR lists, so hopefully now it will be on the radar of more readers.

GeorgeTitle & Author: George by Alex Gino

Release Date: August 25th, 2015

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Summary (From Goodreads):

BE WHO YOU ARE.

When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.

George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part . . . because she’s a boy.  

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte — but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

Students Want to Know Moriah McStay, author of Everything That Makes You

Moriah McStay is the debut author of the March 17th release Everything That Makes You. I received an ARC and instantly passed it on to my students because they’ve been so interested in this story. One of my freshmen tore through it and then it was passed on to one of my senior boys who loved it as well. I’m thrilled to feature this interview between two of my students and Moriah McStay.

Moriah McStay

Moriah McStay’s website
Find Moriah on Twitter
Moriah’s Facebook page

Everything That Makes YouSummary (From Goodreads):

One girl. Two stories. Meet Fiona Doyle. The thick ridges of scar tissue on her face are from an accident twelve years ago. Fiona has notebooks full of songs she’s written about her frustrations, her dreams, and about her massive crush on beautiful uber-jock Trent McKinnon. If she can’t even find the courage to look Trent straight in his beautiful blue eyes, she sure isn’t brave enough to play or sing any of her songs in public. But something’s changing in Fiona. She can’t be defined by her scars anymore.

And what if there hadn’t been an accident? Meet Fi Doyle. Fi is the top-rated female high school lacrosse player in the state, heading straight to Northwestern on a full ride. She’s got more important things to deal with than her best friend Trent McKinnon, who’s been different ever since the kiss. When her luck goes south, even lacrosse can’t define her anymore. When you’ve always been the best at something, one dumb move can screw everything up. Can Fi fight back?

Hasn’t everyone wondered what if? In this daring debut novel, Moriah McStay gives us the rare opportunity to see what might have happened if things were different. Maybe luck determines our paths. But maybe it’s who we are that determines our luck.

Did you enjoy writing the character swapping every chapter?

I did it enjoy it! At times, it got challenging keeping each girl’s story straight—I had charts and post-its everywhere! I’d write only one for awhile, and then switch over, which helped me stay true to each voice. Plus, giving each girl her own chapters provided some fun opportunities to play around with a single character. I got to create twice the wants, quirks and flaws—all good stuff for a writer!

Will there be a sequel?

No, EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU is a stand-alone. I like it that way. It’s in keeping with the overall theme—who can say what’ll happen next? I have another contemporary YA coming out with HarperCollins sometime in 2017, though.

Do you like Fi or Fiona more?

At first, I identified more with Fiona. I approached Fi—the one “without any problems”– with the same assumptions lots of us have about people who look whole from the outside. Without much empathy. But once I realized Fi had her own issues, I connected with her more. Now, I feel motherly towards them both. I share characteristics with each, as well. For example, I’m creative like Fiona, but not painfully shy. And while I’m not a jock like Fi, I’m pretty competitive.

Do you believe, like in your novel, that one incident can change your entire life?

ABSOLUTELY! I believe everyone has a “What if?” question—several “What if?” questions, probably. What if my family never moved across the country when I was a kid? What if that girl didn’t sit next to me in third grade, and we never became friends? What if I picked a different major in college? What if my dad never got cancer?

And then there are the what if’s and maybes we can’t even guess. In one scene, Fiona gets into this with her brother Ryan, when she theories about all the random, unknown events that send us one direction or another. The possibilities of change in a single day are endless. But I think she’s right when she tells him, “If we try to analyze how every little thing changes us, nobody would get anything done.”

Playing around with how your past has affected your present—and future—is an interesting exercise. But I think the bigger point is that, no matter which path you find yourself on, you have the potential for fulfillment and happiness.

Waiting on Wednesday–Dangerous Deception by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.  It’s designed for bloggers to spotlight the upcoming releases that they simply can’t wait to read.

Ohmygosh I need this book in my life right now! I can’t believe Dangerous Deception only just made it on my radar considering how much I adore the Beautiful Creatures series. I can’t wait to read a book from Link’s point of view and hopefully learn more about Ridley.

Dangerous DeceptionTitle & Author: Dangerous Deception by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Release Date: May 19th, 2015

Summary (From Goodreads):

From the world of Beautiful Creatures–a dangerous new tale of love and magic continues in the sequel to Dangerous Creatures.

Love is ten kinds a crazy, right?
Let me put it to you this way: If you can get away, run. Don’t walk.
Because once you’re exposed, you’ll never get a Siren outta your head.

Some loves are cursed. Others are…dangerous. Especially the love between wannabe rocker and quarter Incubus, Wesley “Link” Lincoln, and Dark Caster, Siren, and bonafide bad girl, Ridley Duchannes.

But now Ridley is missing, and Link was with her-right up until she vanished. Determined to find her, Link reunites with his New York bandmates and the mysterious Lennox Gates, who wants Rid for himself. Together they travel to the deep south, find the crossroads where blues guitarist Robert Johnson made his deal with the devil, discover a menagerie of Casters locked in cages, and uncover an evil in New Orleans that threatens to destroy them all.

This time, love might not be enough.

Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, the #1 New York Times bestselling coauthors of the Beautiful Creatures series, deliver their signature blend of mystery, suspense, and romance, with a healthy dose of wit and danger in this sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller Dangerous Creatures.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Will Probably Never Read

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

I wasn’t expecting ever expecting to see this as a top ten topic! It’s fun though because it’s not a topic I’ve ever really considered before. I’m so used to thinking about what books I want to read and how that list is never ending. Does anyone else participating this week feel the same way? Or have any of you who aren’t participating this week thought about books you’ll never read?

1. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck–Unless I end up teaching juniors, I don’t plan on ever reading this novel. The topic doesn’t interest me and I’m certainly not interested in tearing this book apart via literary analysis.

2. The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare–I’m a Cassandra Clare fan, but I haven’t really wanted to keep up with all of her spin-off series. It’s expensive and I’m happy sticking with The Mortal Instruments series.

3. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert–I don’t know that I have a reason, really, but I’m not interested.

4. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey–I always enjoy reading memoirs, but I don’t feel compelled to read a story that’s supposed to be true, but isn’t.

5. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult–Nope, I simply can’t read it. Too many tears will be shed.

6. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin series–The HBO series is too awesome. I know that if I read the series I probably won’t enjoy the show anymore and that will make me incredibly sad.

7. The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman–I’ll occassionally watch the show, and I’m a fan of graphic novels, but I don’t know if I want to experience zombies graphically on top of watching the show.

8. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy–I suppose it would be cool to say I’ve read all 1,392 pages of this classic, but I think I’d rather spend that time reading more than just one book.

9. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen–This admission makes me feel like a horrible English teacher, but honestly, I’m just not interested in reading this. I might, however, read Sense and Sensibility since that’s my favorite Austen movie adaptation.

10. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott–I remember trying to read this when I was in middle school and ultimately abandoning it. This is a book that’s cherished by many, but it doesn’t hold much appeal for me.

Review: Sophomore Year is Greek to Me by Meredith Zeitlin

Sophomore Year is Greek to MeTitle: Sophomore Year is Greek to Me

Author: Meredith Zeitlin

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Release Date: April 21st, 2015

Interest: Author / Contemp

Source: ARC received from the publisher

Summary (From Goodreads):

A laugh-out-loud high school adventure set in Greece, perfect for fans of Meg Cabot.
 
High school sophomore Zona Lowell has lived in New York City her whole life, and plans to follow in the footsteps of her renowned-journalist father. But when he announces they’re moving to Athens for six months so he can work on an important new story, she’s devastated— he must have an ulterior motive. See, when Zona’s mother married an American, her huge Greek family cut off contact. But Zona never knew her mom, and now she’s supposed to uproot her entire life and meet possibly hostile relatives on their turf? Thanks… but no thanks. 
 
In the vein of Anna and the French Kiss, Zona navigates a series of hilarious escapades, eye-opening revelations, and unexpected reunions in a foreign country—all while documenting the trip through one-of-a-kind commentary.

I adored Meredith Zeitlin’s debut, Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters, so I was thrilled when I learned about her sophomore release, Sophomore Year is Greek to Me. Zona Lowell charmed me just as Kelsey Finkelstein did.

I want to quickly note that Zona attends the same school as Kelsey, and Kelsey does make a brief appearance, but you do not need to read Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters before reading Sophomore Year is Greek to Me. I do, however, strongly recommend that you read both books!

Zona is a character with goals and plans, both revolving around her role with the school newspaper. Her driven personality was one of my favorite parts of this book. Being part of our high school’s newspaper and yearbook classes is basically the equivalent to having a part-time job. By the time those students are seniors, they are more talented, goal-oriented, and career focused than I could have ever dreamed to be when I was their age. Zona is a character that these students will respond to quickly for those reasons. She’s also enjoyable because her life in Greece forces her out of her comfort zone which in turn helps her learn how to handle life’s hiccups.

I’ve always wanted to visit Greece; reading Sophomore Year is Greek to Me allowed me to live vicariously through Zona. She travels to different towns, experiences the night life, and even has a rustic “old country” experience. Admittedly, I would have spent much more time at the beach than Zona did, but I loved seeing more of Greece through her eyes.

The summary says this is a book that will make you laugh out loud. I giggled a few times, but I think readers will be disappointed if they’re looking for a “funny” book. Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters made me laugh out loud and is one I had to students who want to read something funny. I wouldn’t hand this to those students necessarily. It has it’s funny moments, but I think this is more fitting for readers who want a story about a character finding herself.

I thoroughly enjoyed Sophomore Year is Greek to Me and hope you’ll enjoy it as well. I’m looking forward to reading Meredith Zeitlin’s future books.

Book Trailer Thursday (167)–Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

Book Trailer Thursday

I don’t think I need to explain why I’m excited to read Challenger Deep. It’s written by Neal Shusterman and this book trailer sealed the deal. That’s enough for me.

Challenger DeepSummary (From Goodreads):

Caden Bosch is on a ship that’s headed for the deepest point on Earth: Challenger Deep, the southern part of the Marianas Trench.

Caden Bosch is a brilliant high school student whose friends are starting to notice his odd behavior.

Caden Bosch is designated the ship’s artist in residence, to document the journey with images.

Caden Bosch pretends to join the school track team but spends his days walking for miles, absorbed by the thoughts in his head.

Caden Bosch is split between his allegiance to the captain and the allure of mutiny.

Caden Bosch is torn.

A captivating and powerful novel that lingers long beyond the last page, Challenger Deep is a heartfelt tour de force by one of today’s most admired writers for teens.

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