I Wish These Books Had Sequels

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday post is all about books we wish have sequels.  I’m surprised this list was so hard to compile considering how often I finish a book and think, “What? It’s done? I need more!”  Thankfully I was able to come up with ten books that need sequels.

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller–I simply want more from this book.  I’m happy with the ending, but I LOVE this story and am being selfish by wanting more.

Dead to You by Lisa McMann–What the heck happened with that ending?! There should be at least a few more pages, if not an entire sequel.

The List by Siobhan Vivian–Too much happened in a short book that took place in a short time span. Another book would be just fine.

Easy by Tammara Webber–Book. Hangover. I still want more of this story and the characters.

Every Day by David Levithan–The ending left me feeling cheated. There really should be a sequel.

When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney–This is just me being selfish again.

 

Warped by Maurissa Guibord–It’s been a long time since I’ve read this so I can’t remember exactly why I think there should be a sequel. If I remember correctly, there’s an open ending that made it feel like a sequel is possible. Plus, I really love this book.

One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt–I just want to make sure Carley is doing okay.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell–If you’ve read this book, then you understand why this is on my list.

Kindness for Weakness by Shawn Goodman–I’m just a little confused about the ending.  It’s not exactly clear what happens to the main character.

Audiobook Review: Crash by Lisa McMann

CrashTitle: Crash

Author: Lisa McMann

Narrator: Allyson Ryan

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: January 8th, 2013

Interest: Author / New series

Source: ARC received from the publisher / Audio purchased via Audible

Summary (From Goodreads): If what you see is what you get, Jules is in serious trouble. The suspenseful first in a series from the New York Times bestselling author of the Wake trilogy.

Jules lives with her family above their restaurant, which means she smells like pizza most of the time and drives their double-meatball-shaped food truck to school. It’s not a recipe for popularity, but she can handle that.

What she can’t handle is the recurring vision that haunts her. Over and over, Jules sees a careening truck hit a building and explode…and nine body bags in the snow.

The vision is everywhere—on billboards, television screens, windows—and she’s the only one who sees it. And the more she sees it, the more she sees. The vision is giving her clues, and soon Jules knows what she has to do. Because now she can see the face in one of the body bags, and it’s someone she knows. Someone she has been in love with for as long as she can remember.

In this riveting start to a gripping series from New York Times bestselling author Lisa McMann, Jules has to act—and act fast—to keep her vision from becoming reality.

Audio Review:

I chose to read Crash with my ears because reading it traditionally wasn’t holding my attention.  I write this first because the audio swayed parts of my enjoyment of this book, but not all of it.  Overall Allyson Ryan did a good job narrating the story.  Her voice is believable as a teen girl, and I was able to discern most of the other character’s voices.  Ryan did a great job expressing the emotions of the characters which really brought the story to life.  This is weird, but something I noticed about Allyson Ryan’s narration that bothered me.  Every now and then she awkwardly pause while speaking and it reminded me of William Shatner’s quirky speaking.  Do you know what I’m referring to when I mention his speaking?  That. Awkward. Pausing.  It didn’t happen often, and usually I’d giggle when it did, but it was slightly distracting.

Book Review:

Lisa McMann is one of my favorite authors.  She writes engaging stories that hook my students and leave them wanting more.  So when I found out about Crash and its premise I was really excited.  I loved the idea of the visions because I knew it would make the story exciting with that added supernatural twist while still feeling realistic.  When I started reading it traditionally, I couldn’t stay with the story.  I wasn’t engaged.  Thankfully the audio kept me engaged, but I still found some key faults with the story.

First, I have to say that my absolute favorite part of Crash is Jules’s relationship with her siblings.  Trey and Rowan are wonderful supporting characters; they’re full of life and really add something extra to the scenes.  I think I even liked them more than Jules!

The problem I have with the story is that it’s more of a spin on Romeo & Juliet than a story about visions of a crash.  I like that Jules has a love interest and the reasons why she can’t be with him.  I simply wish for more balance in the story.  Jules starts seeing the crash visions at the very beginning of the story, and they’re dragged out until almost the very end.  That’s not completely unexpected, especially since Crash is a short book, but most of the focus is on Jules worrying about and pining over Sawyer.  When I was hoping for an exciting story about visions, that left me disappointed.

The sequel to Crash, Bang, releases this October, and I’m sure I’ll read it.  Crash ended with a twist, so I’m curious to know how that will play out.  I’d also like to read Bang because so much wasn’t explained in Crash.  I have mixed feelings about the unexplained elements because if less time was spent on the Jules/ Sawyer love aspect, we could have learned more about the visions themselves.

Most of my friends really enjoyed Lisa McMann’s newest YA novel, and I’m positive many of my students will love it as well.

Review: Dead to You by Lisa McMann

Title: Dead to You, 243 pages

Author: Lisa McMann

Publisher: Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster)

Released: February 7th, 2012

Source: ARC received from the publisher

Summary (From Goodreads): Ethan was abducted from his front yard when he was just seven years old. Now, at sixteen, he has returned to his family. It’s a miracle… at first. Then the tensions start to build. His reintroduction to his old life isn’t going smoothly, and his family is tearing apart all over again. If only Ethan could remember something, anything, about his life before, he’d be able to put the pieces back together. But there’s something that’s keeping his memory blocked. Something unspeakable…

My students and I are big fans of Lisa McMann, so whenever she publishes a book I read it without question.  I was especially excited to read Dead to You because it’s a contemporary thriller.  Also, I let one of my students read my ARC before I did so she could use it for her author study of Lisa McMann.  My student adored it and couldn’t stop gushing.

Dead to You, like many of Lisa McMann’s novels, is an engaging page-turner.  I have three classes of freshmen in a row, and I started Dead to You during SSR in my first section.  By the end of SSR in the final class, I was almost 100 pages in!  I may have given my kids 20 minutes of SSR time that day, but if you’ve read this book or when you do, you’ll understand why each class was given an extra 5 minutes.  Anyway, that’s a pretty big chunk of reading done in a short amount of time, but that almost always happens when I’m reading one of Lisa McMann’s books.  I’m always so engrossed and connected to the story.  My students typically feel the same way which is why her books are so popular in my classroom.  And to be honest, Dead to You had me hooked sooner than any of her other novels.

I can’t relate with Ethan and his family because fortunately I haven’t been in his situation, and I don’t know anyone who has.  I was still able to empathize with him and those around him.  We see this kind of reunion on the news, but we rarely see the day-to-day life and adjustments everyone goes through.  Lisa McMann gives us this insight and it’s brutal at times.  Ethan’s brother doesn’t trust him, Ethan can’t remember anything before the kidnapping, his mother is constantly crying and worrying, and his little sister–the replacement child–is innocent and surprisingly accepting of Ethan.  Watching Ethan trying to adjust and remember is often heartbreaking because it’s obvious how badly he wants it.  His blocked memory and old habits get in his way though.  It’s his vulnerable, secretive side left me wondering about his past and why he can’t remember anything.

For much of Dead to You I kept waiting for something big to happen.  Was a big secret going to be unveiled?  Were they going to track down the kidnapper?  Questions like these kept running through my mind as I raced through this book.  There’s foreshadowing that fits with the ending, and my mind went there from time to time, but I didn’t really think it would turn out that way.  While reading Dead to You, I was sure it was going to be a 5-star read, but the ending just blew up in my face.  We get this climatic scene, and it’s a great scene, but then that’s it.  I wanted to turn more pages.  I expected to turn more pages.  But there aren’t more pages available to turn.  The ending left me disappointed; it feels unfinished.  Of course I’m happy I read Lisa McMann’s newest novel, and I look forward to recommending it to my students, but I wish I had more at the end.

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

Lisa McMann The Unwanteds

390 pp.  Aladdin (Simon & Schuster)  2011  ISBN: 978-1-4424-0768-8

Source: Received from the publisher

Interest: First MG title from author

Release Date: August 30, 2011

Summary (From Goodreads):

Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths.

Thirteen-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when his fate is announced as Unwanted, even while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Upon arrival at the destination where he expected to be eliminated, however, Alex discovers a stunning secret—behind the mirage of the “death farm” there is instead a place called Artime.

In Artime, each child is taught to cultivate their creative abilities and learn how to use them magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it’s a wondrous transformation.

But it’s a rare, unique occurence for twins to be separated between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron’s bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artime that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate, magical battle.

The best way to describe Lisa McMann’s first middle grade title is “magical dystopian.”  This is a wonderful novel that both middle grade and young adult readers will love.  I can’t wait to add this to my classroom library; it will probably even make a fun read aloud.

The first thing I need to mention is the writing–it’s excellent.  I love Lisa’s YA novels and the writing style she uses in them.  Her books are read and enjoyed by both my low level and high level readers.  Her style and voice in The Unwanteds, however, is completely different, but in a fantastic way.  There’s something almost whimsical to her writing style in this book.  I don’t know if she did that on purpose to fit the book or what, but it stood out and won me over.

I’m calling this book a magical dystopian because it’s such an interesting mix of both.  Kirkus Reviews says this about The Unwanteds The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter.”  I agree with the Harry Potter comparison because the school, Mr. Today, and some of the characters are similar, but they certainly stand out as their own characters.  I can see some similarities to The Hunger Games like the Purge and the Reaping, but that was about as far as it went for me.  Hopefully that blurb will grab more reader’s attention, but I don’t want this book to lose it’s originality either.  Besides all of that, I noticed more magic and fantasy in this novel than dystopian elements.  Much of the novel focuses on the school and Alex’s and the others’ education and preparation for a possible battle with the Wanteds.  The characters are learning about life beyond the dullness of Quill and the use of magic.  The possible war with the Wanteds adds the elements of dystopia.

The world building, for the above reasons, is fantastic and I really enjoyed the characters.  The kids are at the perfect middle grade age, but they’re forced into a situation that causes them to become more mature.  They’ve moved on from a life of strict rules, to a school full of creativity, free-thinking, and choice.  They’re given these opportunities because it leaves them room to grow and mature.  I can see kids of any age responding to this in a positive way.  The element of mystery brought on by Mr. Today and the bond between twins, Aaron and Alex, really added to the story.  Mr. Today is a very compassionate and understanding man, but the way he speaks and acts leaves just enough to make you wonder what’s really going on.  I love that normally inanimate objects like whiteboards have become characters in the story.  This is an incredibly fun book to read.

Besides wanting to know if they were ever going to actually follow through with all the preparing for a possible war with the Wanteds, I enjoyed this novel thoroughly.  I really can’t wait to buy a finished copy and give it a home in my classroom.

In My Mailbox (20)

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.

My weekends have been really busy these past two weeks, so I’m behind with my IMM posts.  This week’s IMM consists of two weeks worth of books!

Dinner Party w/Lisa McMann:  I have an entire post about how awesome this was here.  Before the party I bought hardcover copies of the Wake trilogy to get signed and brought along my ARC of Cryer’s Cross.  Lisa told Simon & Schuster about inviting all of us over, so they sent us some awesome presents!

Received from HarperCollins:

Variant by Robison Wells (Goodreads): This one sounds really suspenseful.  Plus, it has boy appeal.

Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver (Goodreads): I’ve been on a middle grade kick lately, so I’m pumped to read this one. I’ve read some great reviews from bloggers and teachers I trust.

Don’t Breathe a Word by Holly Cupula (Goodreads): After reading her debut Tell Me a Secret, I don’t think it’s possible not to like this book.  She’s incredibly talented, so I have high hopes for this one.

Eve by Anna Carey (Goodreads): I’m really into dystopian novels, and this 2011 debut sounds promising.

I told my contact at HarperCollins about a freshmen English class full of struggling readers that I’m teaching this fall.  I’m thinking that offering these students more middle grade novels will be a good idea, so I was sent these five titles to see if they’ll work!  Thank you, HarperCollins!!

Dragons of Silk by Laurence Yep (Goodreads)

Wolf Storm by Dee Garretson (Goodreads): I already know that out of the 26 students scheduled for this class, 20 of them are boys.  This one sounds like a great action/adventure title for them to read.

Deep Zone by Time Green (Goodreads): The description isn’t up yet on Goodreads, but based on the cover I’m going to guess there will be some interest in this book.

The Family Hitchcock by Mark Levin & Jennifer Flackett (Publisher): There isn’t a cover on the Goodreads page, but the cover on my copy is really cute! And since there isn’t a description on the Goodreads page either, I’m linking to the publisher’s page.  It sounds adorable.

The Goblin War (Gobline Wood #3) by Hilari Bell (Goodreads)

Received from Little, Brown and Company:

Boy21 by Matthew Quick (Goodreads): I was sent this one because it will probably appeal to my boys in class.  I love the cover and even though it doesn’t come out until March, I think I’m going to read it this summer because it sounds awesome!

Wintertown by Stephen Emund (Goodreads): An illustrated novel that appeals to boys?!  Yay!  Plus it’s blurbed as “Garden State meets Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” which sounds like all sorts of awesome.

The Rivals by Daisy Whitney (Goodreads): I really liked The Mockingbirds, which has become a favorite in my classroom.  I can’t wait to see what happens in this sequel.

Received from Tor, Random House, Simon & Schuster:

I didn’t want to waste space and take three individual pictures, so I put these three together.

7th Sigma by Steven Gould (Goodreads): I’m really picky about sci-fi, but this one sounds like a book a few of the boys that borrow books from me all the time would like to read.  Plus, I promised one of them that I would read more books that are specifically books he enjoys to read.

Don’t Expect Magic by Kathy McCullough (Goodreads): Kathy signed up to be interviewed by my students this fall for my Students Want to Know feature.  Now my students will be able to read her book before the interview 🙂  Also, I’m featuring the trailer for Don’t Expect Magic in this week’s Book Trailer Thursday.  It’s a wonderful trailer with music that fits perfectly!

Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez (Goodreads): Jessica is another 2011 debut author that signed up for my Students Want to Know feature.  This book has a lot of what my students are interested in–music, addiction, relationships, etc.

Book Launch for Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris:

Carrie Harris is another debut author signed up for my Students Want to Know feature (how awesome are these 2011 debut authors?!).  Her book launch was yesterday, and she invited me and some other bloggers to get lunch with her before the party.  Lunch was really fun and a great way to finally meet Kelly from Stacked and some other cool bloggers as well.  It was awesome to get to know Carrie, along with her husband.  The launch itself was amazing because Carrie is incredibly funny, read a great section from her book, Nicola’s Books might be my new favorite book store, and two of my students made the trip down to Ann Arbor to get their books signed 🙂

I bought my second copy of Bad Taste in Boys (it’s incredibly funny), along with some other books as well.

  • Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker (Goodreads)
  • Everything Beautiful by Simone Howell (Goodreads): I’m reading this one right now and REALLY liking it.
  • Want to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman (Goodreads): I thought this wasn’t coming out until August, but I decided not to question it and bought a copy since it was there!

 

Purchased:

Beautiful (Goodreads) and Clean (Goodreads) by Amy Reed: Both of these have been highly recommended and sound exactly like what many of my students in class want/like to read.

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater (Goodreads): Is anyone else sad that this is the last book??

Teacher and Librarian Dinner with Lisa McMann

I had the most awesome weekend because I got to hang out with Lisa McMann, the author of the Wake trilogy, Cryer’s Cross, and the upcoming release The Unwanteds.  She’s been staying in her hometown Holland this month and wanted to get together with some Michigan English teachers and librarians.  She and I chat sometimes on Twitter, and when she told me about this and asked if I would want to come, I of course said YES!  She made the whole thing even better because she emailed the teachers and librarians she invited and told us we could bring another English teacher or librarian as our guest.  I invited Lindsay since she’s my best friend and she told me about Wake 🙂

Lindsay & I were kind of excited when we arrived 🙂

It’s a bit of a drive to get out there, so Lindsay and I got up early Saturday morning to get ready and head out.  The party started at 4:30, so we had time to check into our hotel and get lunch.  A bunch of times throughout the day we were geeking out about this whole thing.  When we arrived at the condo, we did get a little confused about where the condo she’s renting is exactly, but thankfully we weren’t the only ones!  Once we found the condo, Lisa was there greeting everyone and giving hugs.  She’s incredibly sweet and thoughtful.  She had name tags for us so we knew everyone’s name.  She also had them for our tote bags, courtesy of Simon & Schuster.  She told them about her party, so they sent us presents!  Everyone received an ARC of her upcoming books The Unwanteds (Aug. 2011) and Dead to You (Feb. 2012).  We also received an ARC of Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler, which is a March 2012 debut, and a finished copy of Accidental Hero by Matt Myklusch.  Obviously, we were all excited about this!

I think everyone had a wonderful time.  It was really fun to meet other teachers and librarians and spend the evening sitting on the balcony, watching the sunset over Lake Michigan and talk about books and teaching.  Lisa had appetizers and drinks to start before our dinner was catered.  Wow, was the food awesome!  The chicken satay and peanut sauce was my favorite, with the twice baked redskins following close behind.  Seriously, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.  Her sister made us the best cupcakes I’ve ever had.  The lemon cupcakes with raspberry filling were fabulous.  I could have eaten my weight in those cupcakes.  As we ate, Lisa mingled with all of us.  Some of the books we talked about were Delirium by Lauren Oliver, Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach, OyMG by Amy Fellner Dominy, and Blood Red Road by Moira Young, just to name a few.  All of us were making lists of books to read.  It was seriously so much fun. 

Lindsay and I made sure to head down to the beach to take some pictures and dip our feet in the lake, which was freezing cold.  At some point in my life when I hit the lotto, I think I’ll buy a place on Lake Michigan.  That could happen, right? 😉

Lindsay and I bought hard copies of Wake, Fade and Gone along with copies of Cryer’s Cross, which I already had.  We were able to take some pictures as well, and then sit and chat with her.  It was fun to talk to her about writing and what we do with our students.  She’s taking part in a writing contest with Simon & Schuster for teen writers.  When I saw the link to this, I sent it to some of my students who are aspiring authors.  I told her about the stories I’ve read written by Felecia, Tristan, Mali and Lori because I think all of them have the potential to write a book in the future.

Overall it was the best way to spend a Saturday.  I can’t wait to tell my students about this in the fall!  Thank you Lisa for inviting me and Lindsay!  We had an amazing time and are very grateful for the invite 🙂

Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann

Lisa McMann Cryer’s Cross

233 pp.  Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster)  2011  ISBN: 978-1-4169-9481-7

Source: Purchased

Summary (From Goodreads): The community of Cryer’s Cross, Montana (population 212) is distraught when high school freshman Tiffany disappears without a trace. Already off-balance due to her OCD, 16-year-old Kendall is freaked out seeing Tiffany’s empty desk in the one-room school house, but somehow life goes on… until Kendall’s boyfriend Nico also disappears, and also without a trace. Now the town is in a panic. Alone in her depression and with her OCD at an all-time high, Kendall notices something that connects Nico and Tiffany: they both sat at the same desk. She knows it’s crazy, but Kendall finds herself drawn to the desk, dreaming of Nico and wondering if maybe she, too, will disappear…and whether that would be so bad. Then she begins receiving graffiti messages on the desk from someone who can only be Nico. Can he possibly be alive somewhere? Where is he? And how can Kendall help him? The only person who believes her is Jacian, the new guy she finds irritating…and attractive. As Kendall and Jacian grow closer, Kendall digs deeper into Nico’s mysterious disappearance only to stumble upon some ugly—and deadly—local history. Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.

Lisa McMann’s Wake trilogy is one of the most popular set of books in my classroom library.  I’m pretty sure I have three copies of each book (Wake, Fade, Gone) and they’re hardly ever on my bookshelf for long.  The kids simply love them (I do too, of course!).  Once I heard about Cryer’s Cross, it was a given that I’d read it and put it in my class library.

The cover and the summary really intrigued me.  First of all, I can’t even imagine living in a town with a population of 212 people!  I student taught at a high school with 400 kids which was a huge culture shock for me.  Growing up in a town half that size–craziness.  I’m used to subdivisions and a 7-11 being within a mile of my house, so this was definitely a high-interest point.  Plus, it adds to the eeriness of the story.  I like the setting even more because it’s almost like another character in the story when you consider what a big role it plays in all of the character’s lives.  One of the main reasons Kendall is so close to Nico is because she doesn’t have many options with such a small group of students at school.  The small town forces everyone together and makes it harder to keep secrets.

I really like Kendall’s character.  I felt like I got to know her better because of her OCD.  She’s always fighting it, but it becomes worse when Nico goes missing.  We get to see a more personal side of Kendall while she’s working through her OCD.  Kendall works on the farm with her family, and because of this–this is her excuse anyway–she swears too much.  I get the impression that she doesn’t really swear too often, so I found myself giggling when she did.  One instance in particular reminded me of a well-known scene from the movie A Christmas Story.  I don’t know if I should have had this reaction, but I did.

I enjoyed the scenes with Kendall and Jacian; I loved their banter.  To be honest, it felt like most of the story focused on Kendall finding herself and building a relationship with Jacian.  I wish the story of the desk and what happened to Nico and Tiffany would have been developed more.  It was creepy, but there was room for a deeper story and more suspense.

I’m sure my students will be excited to read Cryer’s Cross this coming school year.    It’s nice to see another level of Lisa McMann’s writing.

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