I view making book recommendations to my students as part of my job as a teacher. I love reading Y.A. and keeping up with what’s new and what I think will appeal to my students, so it’s extra special when a student recommends a book to me. I may not pick up the book right away, but I always make sure to listen to them and make an effort to at least try the book, even if it’s outside my comfort zone.
Because it’s a freebie day for Top Ten Tuesday, I thought about it and decided to highlight ten books I may not have read without my students prompting me to read them for one reason or another. Are there any books students or people you’re close to have recommend you read that you’re thankful for? I’d love to know which ones!
Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Goodreads): To be completely honest, I can’t remember which student told me to read this but I’m so thankful it was brought to my attention! I didn’t think I enjoyed fantasy until I read Graceling.
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (Goodreads): While teaching my second session of Y.A. Lit I saw a couple students reading this. One of the girls told me it’s the best book she’s ever read, and one of my reluctant boys read the first two books in a matter of a week. That was enough for me and I made sure to read it that summer. I still need to read the rest of the trilogy which I plan to do this summer.
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally (Goodreads): I wanted to read Miranda Kenneally’s debut when I bought it for my classroom, but I read it sooner than I probably would have because it was being passed from student to student like rapid fire. Any book that popular needs to be read!
Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer (Goodreads): I really didn’t think I would like this book because I’m not into Glee (which I kept seeing it compared to) or drama or choir, but I bought a couple copies so my students could read it before interviewing Sara for my Students Want to Know feature. After I heard their enthusiastic reviews I decided to give it a try and positively loved it. I can’t wait to read another book written by Sara!
Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen (Goodreads): This one kept getting recommended and I kept telling myself I was going to read it. Then Jake took my Y.A. Lit class this year and wanted sports books so I handed him Leverage. He updated me and the class almost every day as he was reading, and because of these conversations I started reading it as soon as Jake was finished so we could further our discussion. It’s excellent and gritty and emotional.
Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork (Goodreads): A student didn’t actually recommend this book, but I’m reading it because of my students. We’re using it with our Y.A. unit that connects with and follows our To Kill a Mockingbird unit. I’m just about done listening to it on audio, and while I’m not a huge fan of the actor’s production, I’m a big fan of the story. It’s a beautiful example of literary contemporary Y.A. and fits with To Kill a Mockingbird wonderfully.
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles (Goodreads): A couple girls from my Y.A. Lit classes in 2010, including Katelyn from Kate’s Tales of Books and Bands, kept telling me about this trilogy and author, but I put it off for whatever reason. Let me tell you, once I started reading this book I was kicking myself for not reading it sooner. It’s not the best writing in the world, but the story is addicting as well as the trilogy. Plus, my girls in class can’t get enough of Simone Elkeles so I now have all of her books in my classroom.
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (Goodreads): I wrote up a Donors Choose fundraiser when I started teaching my Y.A. Lit class so I could expand my class library, and I added Garcia & Stohl’s debut after it received a William C. Morris honor. One of my 2010 senior boys, Zach, read it right away and raved about it. He said it was better than Twilight and he loved that it was told from a guy’s point of view. His comparison and enthusiasm piqued my interest because at the time Twilight was still pretty popular, plus Zach was pretty influential at school. It’s been downhill since then because I can’t get enough of this series!
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (Goodreads): When this book first released one of my college friends told me to read it, but I wasn’t interested. Years later the movie releases and my students are going on and on about both the book and the movie. One of my avid readers and super book club members, Tristan, handed me her copy before spring break last year and told me to read it. I did and whoa is it awesome! It’s also been extremely popular in my classroom.
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (Goodreads): I have Tristan to thank for this one as well. She read it and told me how wonderful it is and how (I think) she cried. Let me know if I’m wrong about that, Tristan! I was hesitant about Jandy Nelson’s debut at first, but I ended up loving her lyrical writing and reading Lennie’s poems. It’s also incredibly popular among my girls in class.