Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsey Leavitt

Lindsey Leavitt Sean Griswold’s Head

274 pp  Bloomsbury  2011  ISBN: 978-1-59990-498-6

Summary (From Goodreads): According to her guidance counselor, fifteen-year-old Payton Gritas needs a focus object-an item to concentrate her emotions on. It’s supposed to be something inanimate, but Payton decides to use the thing she stares at during class: Sean Griswold’s head. They’ve been linked since third grade (Griswold-Gritas-it’s an alphabetical order thing), but she’s never really known him.

The focus object is intended to help Payton deal with her father’s newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis. And it’s working. With the help of her boy-crazy best friend Jac, Payton starts stalking-er, focusing on-Sean Griswold . . . all of him! He’s cute, he shares her Seinfeld obsession (nobody else gets it!) and he may have a secret or two of his own.

In this sweet story of first love, Lindsey Leavitt seamlessly balances heartfelt family moments, spot-on sarcastic humor, and a budding young romance.

I’ve been a lucky lady lately because I’ve been reading some awesome books back-to-back.  Sean Griswold’s Head is funny, sweet, and touching.  I haven’t read anything else by Lindsey Leavitt, but that is going to change now.

One of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much is because I can relate with Payton.  When I was in college my dad found out he had leukemia.  Fortunately, he’s been in remission for a few years and appears to be “cured”, but it was still incredibly difficult to deal with and understand.  Like Payton, I couldn’t explain why I was angry and upset.  Because I wasn’t at home for most of it, that made it a little easier to handle.  I’m sure if I was at home, I would have acted like Payton did.  Lindsey Leavitt did an excellent job writing Payton’s feelings and reactions to her dad having MS.  It’s so easy to connect with and understand Payton.

The supporting characters in Sean Griswold’s Head are wonderful.  Sean is adorable and the kind of guy I’d want my daughter (if I have a daughter some day) to date.  He’s smart, sweet and the perfect amount of dorky.  What’s not to like?!  Payton’s best friend, Jac, made reading this story even more entertaining.  I love the multiple nicknames she gives Payton like “Pumpkin” and “Gumdrop”.  She’s simply delightful and a very good friend to Payton.

This is an endearing book that guys and girls will enjoy.  Lindsey Leavitt is a talented author and I look forward to reading more of her books.  I simply loved it!  Strong characters, layered plot, and humor to boot.  Make sure you read Sean Griswold’s Head!


Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Ann Aguirre Enclave

259 pp.  Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan)  2011

Summary (From Goodreads):  New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20’s. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters—or Freaks—who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight, in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs. As the two are guided by Fade’s long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known.

I added Enclave to my list of books to read because Ann Aguirre is a debut author and it’s dystopian.  It’s a quick read that’s dark and enjoyable.  On the cover it says it’s a good choice for fans of The Hunger Games, but I honestly didn’t feel the connection between both books.  Enclave reminds me more of Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth and parts also reminded me of Patrick Ness’s The Knife of Never Letting Go.  I’m not a fan of Carrie Ryan’s book, so I guess it’s odd that I liked this book as much as I did.

The characters are developed well, which I always appreciate in a book that’s beginning a trilogy or series.  Deuce has lived a sheltered life underground, with the desire to become a Huntress.  She’s paired up with Fade, who was an outsider, but welcomed to the enclave because he was able to survive outside it.  I enjoyed their interactions because Deuce is able to learn more about the world outside the enclave, which in turn uncovers some truths about her life inside the enclave.  Fade is able to provide this knowledge.  Fade’s definitely a leader, but he doesn’t dominate over Deuce which would have made her appear weak and fragile.  This is a book with a tough female protagonist that knows how to protect herself and survive.  I’m not the biggest fan of Stalker, although I am curious about his role in book two.

The Freaks are an interesting part of the book.  I thought of them more like zombies than anything else.  I’m not a fan of zombies (Team Unicorn all the way!), so again, I’m surprised that addition of Freaks didn’t change my feelings towards the book.  Thinking about it now, this book would pair well with the movie I Am Legend.  Thankfully, Ann Aguirre didn’t make the story revolve around the Freaks.  Enclave is more about survival in a “new” world and self-discovery.

There’s a great balance of action and character/world building.  The ending wraps up nicely and thankfully isn’t a cliffhanger.  If you’re looking for a different kind of dystopian (this is apocalyptic) and connecting with strong characters, definitely pick this up.  My book club chose this book and we’re discussing it on Friday.  I’m looking forward to what they have to say!

Angelfire: I’m just not into you

Summary of Angelfire (From Goodreads): This debut, the first novel in a trilogy, is achingly romantic, terrifying, and filled with blistering action.

When seventeen-year-old Ellie starts seeing reapers – monstrous creatures who devour humans and send their souls to Hell – she finds herself on the front lines of a supernatural war between archangels and the Fallen and faced with the possible destruction of her soul.

A mysterious boy named Will reveals she is the reincarnation of an ancient warrior, the only one capable of wielding swords of angelfire to fight the reapers, and he is an immortal sworn to protect her in battle. Now that Ellie’s powers have been awakened, a powerful reaper called Bastian has come forward to challenge her. He has employed a fierce assassin to eliminate her – an assassin who has already killed her once.

While balancing her dwindling social life and reaper-hunting duties, she and Will discover Bastian is searching for a dormant creature believed to be a true soul reaper. Bastian plans to use this weapon to ignite the End of Days and to destroy Ellie’s soul, ending her rebirth cycle forever. Now, she must face an army of Bastian’s most frightening reapers, prevent the soul reaper from consuming her soul, and uncover the secrets of her past lives – including truths that may be too frightening to remember.

I know “hate” is a strong word, but I positively hate it when I can’t get into a book and end up not finishing it.  Unfortunately, I’ve been running across quite a few books in that category this year.  And since I’m not going to fully review them since I didn’t finish them, I think I’m going to post why I simply couldn’t get into them.

My alumni book club and I went to the launch party for Courtney Allison Moulton’s debut novel Angelfire.  She did a great job at the launch, we all bought books and had them signed, and agreed we’d read her book for book club.  We had a couple books lined up before hers, so we’re just now reading Angelfire for our next meeting.  I started reading it on Thursday or Friday (it’s been a busy week, so I can’t remember) and gave up yesterday.

Whenever I’m reading a book and feeling a little dicey about it, I try to give it at least 100 pages before I finally make up my mind.  I decided to stop at page 108.  Granted, this is a 453 page book, so maybe that’s not enough of a chance.  But let me explain it first.

The biggest problem I’m having is that it doesn’t feel like any kind of plot is being developed.  Ellie has discovered that she’s been reincarnated hundreds of times as a Preliator, or reaper killer.  She also knows that Will has been her Guardian for 500 or so years.  And after 108 pages, that’s it.  She fights and kills reapers.  So… What’s the point?  Why should I keep reading?  What’s her major problem besides realizing at 17 that she’s been reincarnated and has to kill reapers with the help of Will?  Maybe I’m missing the point, but how can I be 108 pages in and not really know where the story is going?  This explains the weird dreams she’s been having and that’s about it.  I need to feel like there’s more to the story to keep me reading.  I’m a teacher with tons of papers to grade and lessons to plan.  I’m a grad school student with intense classes and reading to complete.  I’m a blogger with other books on my shelf waiting to be read and reviewed.  I don’t want to sound mean, but I need a reason to keep reading a book.  And Angelfire simply wasn’t providing it 🙁

Besides the plot, I couldn’t get over the writing style.  It’s pretty choppy and there isn’t as much internal dialogue as I prefer from a first-person point of view.  I really don’t have a good feel for who Ellie is as a protagonist and I should by now.  And then there were the typos… I’m an English teacher and I can’t ignore them.  I know they happen (I make them in my posts too!), and I catch them pretty often.  A few here and there I can ignore and they don’t change my opinion of the book.  But I was left wondering how much attention this book received before it was published.

I have an extra copy of this book in my classroom already and a couple of students have read it and loved it.  I think that’s fantastic, because I know not everyone feels the way I do.  And I’m sure some of my boys who enjoy fantasy will like Angelfire because of the violent and bloody fight scenes.  So this book definitely has appeal, just not for me.

If you’ve read Angelfire, I’d love to know what you think.  Does it get better soon?  If so, let me know and maybe I’ll give it another chance this summer.  If you feel the same way, I’d like to know that too.

In My Mailbox (11)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme sponsored by The Story Siren.  It’s a way for bloggers to share what books they’ve received for review, borrowed from the library, or bought from the store.

For my Students Want to Know feature:
This was a GREAT week for my students.  I received an ARC of The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski and some signed bookmarks on Valentine’s Day!  On Thursday I received a bunch of super cool buttons from Randy Russell to go along with his book Dead Rules.  Those buttons were HOT with my freshmen!  Thank you Christina and Randy!  You two are wonderful 🙂

Bought at a launch party:
Yesterday my alumni book club and I drove to Lansing for Courtney Moulton’s launch party for her debut novel Angelfire. I bought a copy and had it signed, plus a couple extra copies to put in my class library.  Courtney was really fun to listen to!  She had a couple giveaways, served root beer floats (delicious!), and was awesome in general.  Quite a few bloggers were there along with a couple authors, but it was pretty hectic and I didn’t get to meet any of them :/

The party was held at Schuler’s Books and Music, an indie bookseller.  I’ve been searching for a couple copies Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer, but I haven’t been able to find them at either Borders of Barnes & Noble.  There were five copies at Schulers!  So I bought two copies 🙂  I of course want to read it, but my students are going to interview Sara for my Students Want to Know feature which means I need a couple copies to spread around.  Yay indie booksellers!!

 

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler

Sarah Ockler Fixing Delilah
320 pp.  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Little, Brown and Company).  2010  ISBN: 9780316052092

Summary (From the publisher): “We all long for what could have been.”

 Things in Delilah Hannaford’s life have a tendency to fall apart.

 She used to be a good student but she can’t seem to keep it together anymore. Her friends are drifting away. Her ‘boyfriend’ isn’t a boyfriend. Her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided the Hannaford family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, runs in the family.

 When Delilah must spend the summer helping to settle her estranged grandmother’s estate, she’s suddenly confronted by her family’s painful past. Faced with questions that cannot be ignored and secrets that threaten to burst free, Delilah begins to doubt all that she’s ever known to be true.

 Rich with humor and emotion, Sarah Ockler delivers a powerful story of family, love and self-discovery – as Delilah comes to realize that even the most shattered relationships can be pieced back together again.

Fixing Delilah is a charming, stay up too late to finish, wonderful book.  I read this as part of The Contemps Challenge and because I really enjoyed Sarah’s debut Twenty Boy Summer

Sarah has a knack for creating relatable characters.  Thankfully, I have a really close relationship with my mom.  I grew up knowing I could come home from school and gush to my mom about my latest crush or lay my head in her lap and cry over whatever was upsetting me.  This isn’t the case for Delilah, but I could still empathize with her.  Actually, there were plenty of times that I wanted to reach out and comfort Delilah.  She reminded me of some of my students.  My book club chose this, and when we met to discuss it, one of the girls told me that she had a difficult time reading it because she has a similar relationship with her mom.  On the flip side, she also told me that reading Delilah’s story was comforting.  Mothers and daughters should definitely read this together.  I plan on getting my mom a copy 🙂

In my reviews I usually focus on characters, but I really want to talk about the setting of Fixing Delilah.  Delilah has to return to the small town where she spent her childhood, Red Falls.  The town is full of quirky characters, like the lady who creates sweaters and clothes from shedded fur (yep, definitely quirky…).  There’s the coffee house where local bands play and Delilah makes some friends, which is a first for her.  I liked reading scenes in the coffee house because it reminded me of the place I went to in college called Kaya Coffee & Tea Co.  Nice memories 🙂  The best aspect of the setting is that Red Falls is on the water.  The water imagery Sarah creates is beautiful, and I’m not just talking about literal water.  Unfortunately, both of my copies of Fixing Delilah are with students right now, so I can’t include a couple examples.  But trust me, the water motifs are superb!

This part isn’t exactly book review-ish, but it’s worth mentioning.  When I recommended to my book club that we read Fixing Delilah I contacted Sarah asking if she’d be interested in participating in a Q&A of some sort with us.  I was really excited when she responded enthusiastically and offered to do a phone chat with my group!  The day of our meeting, we discussed the book first and then about half-way through Sarah called.  The girls asked tons of questions and received thoughtful replies.  We talked about writing and becoming an author, character development, Sarah’s next book, etc.  I know the girls enjoyed it as much as I did.  Thank you, Sarah, for making the experience of reading Fixing Delilah that much better!

Book Club (6) Interview w/Mindi Scott

The girls in my book club decided to read Freefall by Mindi Scott as our most recent read.  Once the decision was made,  I sent Mindi a message via Twitter asking if she’d be willing to participate in a Q & A with my book club.  She was incredibly wonderful and agreed to have us send her some questions for her to answer 🙂  During our meeting to discuss Freefall we went down to the computer lab to type the questions- they went crazy!  The girls came up with around 30 questions, and I sent them all (I told Mindi we didn’t expect her to answer all of them).  She answered almost EVERY question- how cool is that?!  Because there was so much text, and many of the questions revolved around writing (I have many future authors-yay!), I’m only posting the questions and answers dealing with Freefall.  Thank you, Mindi, for being completely amazing and participating with us!!

Characters:

  • Did you get close to your characters?  If so, how did you get into their mentalities to make them as believable and real as they are?  While I was writing this book, I spent the majority of every day thinking about Seth and trying to work out scenes, and there were even nights (many of them) when I would dream from his point of view.  It became very easy to see the world through a Seth filter.  I didn’t have to wonder how he’d feel or what he’d think about something; I just intuitively knew.  I think that is probably how the other characters came to life as well.  I was really focused on Seth’s.
  • 

  • Did you base your characters and story off real life experiences or people you know?  The main thing that was real was the idea of Kendall’s secret boyfriend.  It was very, very, very, very loosely based on something I experienced. 
    Also, I remember after high school, hearing about a guy who took it really hard when he found his best friend’s body.  The circumstances there were totally different than what happened in the book, but I did use some of what I imagined he went through when I was writing Seth.
  • How did you choose the names for the characters? The first thing I do when I start any new project is write the alphabet down a page.  As I come up with names, I fill them in next to the corresponding letter and try not to repeat letters if I can help it.  I also try to make sure the names are varied so that there can’t ever be even a moment of confusion about whom my narrator is referring.  Here are few of the names from Freefall and where they came from:   
  1.  Seth McCoy:  A band my husband was in used to play at a tavern in Olympia, Washington, called McCoys.  Also, I knew a bass player named Sean McCoy (formerly of the band, Bacchus) and I thought it was the perfect name for this character.   It seemed kind of weird to name my character after an acquaintance, so I went with Seth instead; it is the same number of characters and starts with the same first letter.
  2.  Daniel Jackson:  His drink of choice is Jack Daniels. So I reversed it.  (Yes, really.)
  3.  Rosetta Vaughn:  I wanted her name to be something flowery and feminine.  I also wanted it to be kind of uncommon.  Rosetta is the heroine in The Captive, the first Victoria Holt novel I ever read.  So, like my Rosetta tells Seth, her name came from a romance novel.  Her last name is Vaughn because I was watching a lot of Alias at the time and Sydney’s love interest was Michael Vaughn.
  4. Kendall Eckman.  Her name was originally going to be Kendra. I don’t remember why.  I changed it because I didn’t want both of the main girls’ names to end with the letter A.
  5. Xander Yates.  There is a character named Xander on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  In one episode, Buffy and her friends all temporarily lose their memories due to a spell.  Xander pulls out his license and discovers that he’s Alexander.  One of the other characters then calls him “Alex.”  I liked the idea of my Xander getting to try out Alex for IC class, so I went with it.  (Plus, the letter “X” was available.)
  6. Taku Endo. He’s named for another bass player I know (from The Valley).
  7. Carr Goodwin.  He always felt like a Carson to me, but I didn’t want to have “-son” since some of the characters refer to Daniel Jackson by his last name only.  Goodwin was chosen because of Woody Goodman, a character on season 2 of Veronica Mars.  I don’t know now if I got mixed up and thought Woody’s last name actually was Goodwin or if used Goodwin because I liked it better.

The Book:

  • Where did you get the idea for IC class?  In college, I took an Interpersonal Communications class.  Even though it bored me at the time, it really did stick with me and change the way I communicate.  The instructor gave us the opportunity to choose alternate identities for the class.  She also had us keep journals and challenge ourselves to do things outside our comfort zones for class credit.  The format of the class in my book, though, was just stuff I came up with when considering what I thought would make the class more interactive if I were teaching it to high school students.
  • Are there any scenes cut from the story?  SO MANY!  I wrote at least fifteen first chapter versions, all of them vastly different from each other.  I cut almost everything with Seth’s brother, who was a major, major character in the first draft.  I also took out Kendall’s sister completely, who happened to be the girlfriend of Seth’s brother.

    I once had a scene where Daniel stole Seth’s car and totaled it. 

    At one point, I had a prologue with Seth and Isaac, which took place right in the hours before Isaac died.  My editor didn’t like it, which is good, because I didn’t like it either. Seeing Isaac alive and in action seemed to weaken the story considerably; it gave readers the opportunity to judge Isaac for themselves.  (To me, who Isaac was isn’t the real point.  What matters is what he meant to Seth and who Seth is going to be without him.)

Thank you again, Mindi, for this awesome opportunity you gave my book club.  They loved it and are extremely thankful!

    

 

    

Freefall by Mindi Scott

Mindi Scott Freefall
315 pp.  Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster)  2010 ISBN: 978-1-4424-0278-2

Summary (from the publisher): “How do you come back from the point of no return?

Seth McCoy was the last person to see his best friend, Isaac, alive, and the first to find him dead. It was just another night, just another party, just another time when Isaac drank too much and passed out on the lawn. Only this time, Isaac didn’t wake up.

Convinced that his own actions led to his friend’s death, Seth is torn between turning his life around . . . or losing himself completely.

Then he meets Rosetta: so beautiful and so different from everything and everyone he’s ever known. But Rosetta has secrets of her own, and Seth soon realizes he isn’t the only one who needs saving . . .”

I read Freefall for The Contemps Challenge, but my primary reason was because it deals with a male protagonist struggling in life.  Seth is trying to cope with the loss of his best friend Issac, but this story is about more than dealing with loss.  Playing in the band isn’t the same for Seth now that Issac isn’t there playing beside him.  Trying to get caught up in school is a bigger hindrance than it was before.  And to top everything else, the people in Seth’s life appear to be moving on faster than he can.  This is a story about coping and discovering who you are.

As one of my students was reading this book he said “Seth seems more real than most characters in other books.”  Seth is witty, sarcastic, sometimes awkward, and a tad insecure.  His love interest is the beautiful, slightly mysterious Rosetta.  Seth thinks she’s out of his league, so whenever he speaks with her- drunk at a party and trying to be suave, or forced to in class- it never goes as smoothly as he pictures it in his head.  Isn’t that how it goes for most people?  We can visualize a perfect conversation with someone we’re interested in, but when the moment presents itself we find ourselves mumbling and fumbling like morons.  This aspect of Seth’s character makes him more human for readers.  His witty side often shows itself when he speaking with Daniel.  Daniel is an example of the “former Seth”, who partied and didn’t care about school.  Daniel also reminds Seth of Issac, and this worries him because he doesn’t want Daniel partying himself to death like Issac did.  But Daniel is still Seth’s friend and he doesn’t want to lose him, he just doesn’t want to be like Daniel anymore.

Losing Issac has almost forced Seth into making new friends.  Many of these friends come from his Interpersonal Communications (IC) class.  The class is designed to teach students how to effectively communicate and empathize with others.  Is there anything stated there that Seth doesn’t need?  I don’t think so.  Seth isn’t communicating with anyone about his grief for Issac.  He need someone to empathize with him, and he also needs to learn to empathize with others.  This class has opened up his more vulnerable, guarded side to those in class with him.  When everyone is in the same situation, you’re bound to make some close friends.  Seth is able to build a closer relationship with Kendall, Issac’s former girlfriend, and he’s able to make a new friend in Xander who helps teach Seth about confidence and self-assurance.

This isn’t a book full of action, but it’s a book full of self-discovery and real situations.  I know girls will enjoy Freefall because my book club is all girls and we read this together.  They couldn’t stop talking about it!  (We even had a Q&A with Mindi about her book)  I know guys will read this because they’ve told me they enjoyed similar books because they coud relate to the character’s problems.  Even if a guy can’t relate to losing his best friend, he can relate to tough situations with friends and wanting a potential relationship to work out.  Mindi Scott has a very real novel that teens will pick up and enjoy from beginning to end.

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

Becca Fitzpatrick Crescendo

427 pp.  Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.  2010 ISBN:  9781416989431

Summary (From the publisher): “Nora should have know her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up. Patch is starting to pull away and Nora can’t figure out if it’s for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy Marcie Millar. Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home.

The farther Nora delves into the mystery of her father’s death, the more she comes to question if her Nephilim blood line has something to do with it as well as why she seems to be in danger more than the average girl. Since Patch isn’t answering her questions and seems to be standing in her way, she has to start finding the answers on her own. Relying too heavily on the fact that she has a guardian angel puts Nora at risk again and again. But can she really count on Patch or is he hiding secrets darker than she can even imagine?”

Let’s start with the obvious- Becca Fitzpatrick is a super-talented author!  I’ve noticed that sometimes books in the middle of a series or trilogy tend to drag; not so with Crescendo.  I was hooked from the beginning to the very end, which left me yelling “What the?!”  But more on that in a bit…  Her ability to create a scene through vivid imagery and invoke strong emotions towards a character is excellent.  While reading both books I’ve found myself thinking “Wow, could I ever do something like that?”  Becca’s talent is impressive.

Nora is a fun character to read.  I love that she wants to be perceived as tougher than she appears; it’s tiring reading damsels in distress over and over.  Of course, Nora faces her fair share of distressful situations, but she’s always trying to fight and think her way out of them.  I especially enjoyed her relationship with Vee.  In Hush, Hush we didn’t get to interact with Vee as often.  She’s incredibly amusing and acts as a good friend to Nora.  I don’t know how many girls would follow their best friend into a questionable bar and offer up her car over and over again.  Props to Nora and Vee!

In regards to characters, I found myself growing more and more frustrated with Patch.  But I suspect that was the point because Nora was feeling the same.  I kept wishing he’d just be honest with Nora, but I also kept wishing that Nora would allow him to explain himself!  Advice to Nora and Patch- communication is KEY in any relationship.  (Yes, I know I’m speaking to fictional characters… lol).  If the two of them would have been honest with each other, so many problems would have been avoided or solved faster.  However, I still adore Patch and how he watches over Nora. 

The one thing I hope to learn more about in book #3 is Nora’s family history and Nephilim connection.  We got a taste in Crescendo, but I am yearning for more information!  I was making predictions throughout the book and just when I thought I’d have my answers at the end, I was left hanging.  But it was definitely in a good way!  Just like I said earlier in my post, I definitely yelled “What the?!”  My husband was sleeping next me (I stayed up way too late on a school night to finish reading) and I’m surprised I didn’t wake him up.  The ending of Crescendo is the perfect lead in to the next book.

Book Club (5)

In our book club meeting we decided to read a banned book (or multiple!) in honor of Banned Books Week.  So… How are your books?  Do you agree with them being banned?  Have you done any research on why it’s banned? 

Here’s my list of banned books that I am proud to have read and provide in my classroom library 🙂

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Speak / Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block
Forever by Judy Blume
The House of Night Series by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Mortal Instruments Trilogy by Cassandra Clare
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
I Am the Cheese / The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
Deadline by Chris Crutcher
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Shattering Glass by Gail Giles
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Crank, Glass, Burned, Impulse, Identical, Fallout by Ellen Hopkins
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Boy Toy by Barry Lyga
The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things / Vegan, Virgin, Valentine by Carolyn Mackler
Cut by Patricia McCormick
The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult
Angus, Thongs and Full-frontal Snogging / On the Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God: Further Confessions of Georgia Nicolson by Louise Rennison
The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser

I didn’t realize how many banned books I’ve read!  I know I’m forgetting some, and I’m purposely leaving off Huck Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird because I teach those.

Book Club (4)

This book club topic is all about characters!  If you could hang out with a character, or what the heck, have a whole party with characters, which would you choose?  Or maybe it’s too hard to choose favorite characters that way; can you categorize your favorite characters according to genre (paranormal fantasy, realistic, etc)?  Or there’s the classic “Who’s your favorite character and why?”  Go with whatever suits you and leave a comment to join the discussion please 😀

For me, I have to narrow my favorite characters into weird catergories, so here it goes…

If I was taking an art or photography class, I’d definitely want to hang out with Caitlin from Hold Still by Nina Lacour.  She’s incredibly talented and creative, even when she’s trying on purpose to fail.  So in the art category of favorite characters, Caitlin’s it.

If I ever put on my own musical, I’ll be calling on Tiny Cooper from Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan.  He’s absolutely fabulous and I’m sure he could brighten anyone’s day!

In the world of paranormal fantasies, my BFFs would be Sophie from Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins and Evie from Paranormalcy.  They are both hilarious, witty and just all-around cool female characters. 

BTW- Some of my former students and I met up at Borders for a real-life book club meeting.  We decided to buy and read It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini.  We’re hopefully going to meet up again (more are welcome!!) and talk about what we’ve read by that point.  If we can’t meet up, I’m sure we’ll blog about it here 🙂  Feel free to get a copy and join the discussion!

%d bloggers like this: