Run Much? YA Titles Featuring Runners

When I think about sports books I’m typically thinking about football, basketball, and baseball. I honestly have a difficult time getting into those stories, but I’m try to read at least a few titles under that category each year. I think, however, that it’s easy to forget about our students who don’t participate in those sports. I need to remind myself that I also have runners, soccer players, swimmers, etc. in my classes. Thankfully I caught myself reading a few books in a row featuring runners. I’m going to guess that I’m not the only teacher or librarian who forgets about this, which is why I decided to write a post about YA characters who run for one reason or another.

Anna from Moonglass by Jessi Kirby (Goodreads): Anna runs on a team (cross-country, I believe), but she’s also running to clear her head. I liked this part of the story because while it added another element to the plot, it also added another layer to the conflict.

Jessica from The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen (Goodreads): I listened to the audiobook and thoroughly enjoyed it. Jessica’s story is so much more than a story about a runner. It’s about overcoming adversity, friendship, family, and more. I was really touched by how much of a family Jessica’s track team was to her.

Felton from Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach (Goodreads): If you’ve followed my blog for a while then you know how much I love this book. Felton is a stupid fast runner who runs on the track team (how his speed was discovered) and is a fast runner on the football team. Sports in general help Felton work through his family troubles and his personal conflicts.

Alice from On the Road to Find Out by Rachel Toor (Goodreads): Alice is a fun and quirky character who has decided she’s going to be a runner when her college plans don’t work out. I like that she’s goal-oriented and driven because so many of my students are. This is a great book for my seniors who are overwhelmed and stressing out about college, especially those who haven’t been accepted to their first choice schools. I’m not a runner by any means, but Alice’s story made me feel like I could be a runner, too.

Annie from Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally (Goodreads): Annie has decided to train for a marathon in honor of her boyfriend who died tragically. Miranda Kenneally’s characters continue to become more interesting with each book that she writes. I really enjoyed watching Annie become a marathon runner and watching her work through her grief.

Kate from Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson (Goodreads): Kate’s plate is more than full. She’s in charge of taking care of her family, she’s only applied to one college, her mother has passed away, and her father has taken in a family who she doesn’t get along with. Running is a way for her to calm her nerves and keep some control in her life. This is one of my favorite books written by Laurie Halse Anderson and one that I wish more of my students would read.

Nastya from The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay (Goodreads): This is one of my favorite books and it’s because I got to know the characters so well. Nastya is dealing with more than her fair share of issues and running helps her feel in control. Running has also led her to Josh Bennett who is also dealing with too much. This is a wonderful story that I couldn’t get enough of.

Nico from Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder (Goodreads): Nico is another character who runs to escape. His brother has died and so has his friend. Running helps him clear his head and relieve some of the anger he feels.

Student Book Love: The Bigger Picture

For the past few days I’ve been posting the books that three of my classes listed as their award-worthy favorites read in 2012.  I’ve enjoyed putting the posts together because they provide an interesting glimpse at my students’ reading preferences.  After seeing such a wide range of favorites between the three classes I decided to put together a post which includes some of the titles that didn’t “make the cut” and others that I see becoming favorites of 2013.


More 2012 Student Favorites (click on the image for Goodreads link)

The Perks of Being a WallflowerThe Sky is Everywhere paperback

Burning BlueMeant to Be


The Book ThiefBall Don't Lie

Predicted Student Favorites of 2013 (click on the image for Goodreads link)
*Most of these titles were listed as favorites multiple times but between different classes which is why they didn’t end up on the top 10 lists*

WonderLove and Other Perishable Items

Something Like NormalThe Fault in Our Stars

Every DayBeautiful Creatures 2


this-is-not-a-drill-coverI Heart You, You Haunt Me

Anna Dressed in Bloodjkt_9780545334747.indd

Book Trailer Thursday (94)–Falling for You by Lisa Schroeder

Lisa Schroeder is one of my favorite authors and I adore all of her books.  She’s honestly one of the best verse novel authors out there.  I’m surprised her newest book Falling for You, which just released on January 1st, isn’t written in verse, but I’m also excited to read her prose.  If you love her verse as much as I do, you’ll be happy to know that there’s still some poetry in this book 🙂

Falling for YouSummary (From Goodreads):

Rae’s always dreamed of dating a guy like Nathan. He’s nothing like her abusive stepfather—in other words, he’s sweet. But the closer they get, the more Nathan wants of her time, of her love, of her…and the less she wants to give.

As Rae’s affection for Nathan turns to fear, she leans on her friend Leo for support. With Leo, she feels lighter, happier. And possessive Nathan becomes jealous.

Then a tragedy lands Rae in the ICU. Now, hovering between life and death, Rae must find the light amid the darkness…and the strength to fight for life and the love she deserves.

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish People I Want to Meet

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

The YA book community is pretty darn fantastic, and over the past couple years I’ve come across some wonderful authors/teachers/librarians/bloggers who I would love to meet!  This post is all about them and my list is in no particular order.

Matthew Quick–I’ve only read his most recent book, Boy21, but it continues to make me happy every time I read it aloud to my students.  If an author has written a book that I want to read and share with my students over and over again, then he/she is worth meeting.

Gae Polisner–I’ve done everything short of meeting Gae in person since I “met” her a couple years ago.  We’ve emailed, we’ve Facebooked, we’ve Twitter(ed?), and we’ve even Skyped.  I even teach her debut novel, The Pull of Gravity.  Can I meet you in person already, Gae?! 😉

Amy Fellner Dominy–Her books make me smile.  OyMG and Audition & Subtraction are both adorable and so worth reading.  I love chatting with Amy on Twitter and Facebook, so it’s about time I get to meet her! 🙂

Geoff Herbach–Are you sensing a trend here?  I kind of love the Class of 2K11.  Stupid Fast has turned so many of my male students into readers.  I want to meet him in person so I can thank him for his book and what it does for my students.

Courtney Summers–She’s another author who hooks my students within the first few pages of her books.  Her writing is engrossing and her stories are heart-wrenching.  I really hope I get to meet her one day.

Lisa Schroeder–I’ve loved every single one of her verse novels.  They’re engrossing, beautifully written, and almost always hook my reluctant female readers.  Plus, she lives in one of my favorite areas, the Pacific Northwest, so it would be super cool to meet her out there.  If you haven’t read I Heart You, You Haunt Me or Chasing Brooklyn or any of her other books, then you’re really missing out.

Allison R (@reader4evr)–I can’t remember how Allison and I started chatting on Twitter, but I love talking books with her.  She’s one of my go-to people when I need a good book recommendation, so I know we’d have fun if we met in person.

Jennifer Fountain (@jennann516)–Jenn and I would be super good friends if we could get together in real life.  I just know it 🙂  She and I have so many similar teaching/reading tastes that it would be amazing if we could one day teach at the same school.  It probably won’t happen, but I often dream of the “super school” made up of the fabulous teachers and librarians I follow on Twitter.  You can also keep up with Jenn through her blog, Fountain Reflections.

Crys Hodgens (@thehodgenator)–Crys is another super teacher.  She is full of awesome teaching ideas, she reads great books, and she pins all kinds of cool things on Pinterest.  Plus she blogs about almost all of those things I just listed.  Crys is another teacher I’d want at my dream “super school.”

Kyle (@BookPensieve)–Kyle is a fellow Michigan teacher so there’s actually a pretty good chance we could meet in person.  I love chatting with her on Twitter about books and teaching since we have so much in common and share lots of ideas.  She’s also a blogger at A Reader’s Pensieve.

In Honor of National Poetry Month: Verse Novels Worth Reading

We’re nearing the end of National Poetry Month, so I found it fitting to write a post featuring my favorite verse novels.  If you haven’t read many verse novels, or any at all, you might want to view this post as a verse novels starter kit.  I’ll admit verse novels aren’t for everyone, but when they’re done well it might surprise you when you find yourself attached to a character or moved by the imagery created through so few words.

My first novel in verse was Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff (Goodreads), which I read for my college Young Adult Lit class.  It’s been a few years since I’ve read that book, but I still love it and remember it vividly.  From there I started reading Ellen Hopkins’ books which began with Crank (Goodreads).  I moved on to Sonya Sones (her books on Goodreads) next.  Once I started reading verse novels I was on a mission to find more, not only because I adore them, but because they soon became very popular in my classroom.  For struggling readers, being able to conquer one of Ellen Hopkins’ books is like a point of pride because they’re “such big books.”  And I don’t say that to demean their experience; I say that because her books, along with other verse novels, create more confident readers.

The list I’m providing is here because I love these novels and want to promote them.  It’s also here because I hope more readers will give verse novels a chance.  This list will also help fill in some gaps for those who already read and love novels in verse.  If you have some recommendations please share them in the comments! 🙂

I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder (Goodreads) (My Review): This was the first book I read by Lisa Schroeder.  I read it in one sitting and was completely awed by her writing.  I still need to read Far From You, but I’ve read all of her other books.  I’ll continue to read every book she writes because she’s so incredibly talented.

Sold by Patricia McCormick (Goodreads): I read Sold before I started teaching, so I don’t have a review for it.  Patricia McCormick is one of my favorite authors because she spends so much time researching the topic for her novels.  Consequently, she creates powerful novels that stick with you for some time after finishing one of her books, much like Sold did.  It’s written in vignettes and packs a quite the emotional punch.

Love & Leftovers by Sarah Tregay (Goodreads) (My Review): What a debut!  I hope Sarah Tregay writes more novels in verse because I adored Love & Leftovers, and if the fact that I haven’t seen it in my classroom for months means anything, my students love this debut as well.  Sarah Tregay took a familiar topic (exploring love and friendship) and created it into a verse novel that’s both humorous and touching.  Love & Leftovers has been featured all over my blog via my review, a student review, and more so I really hope you read this one.

Exposed by Kimberly Marcus (Goodreads) (My Review): This novel is hard to discuss without spoilers.  I can say, however, that when I read Exposed I often thought of different books written by Ellen Hopkins.  I’ve handed Kimberly Marcus’s debut to my Hopkins fans and received positive feedback.  I’ve also used Exposed as a stepping stone to Ellen Hopkins which has gone over well also.  Regardless, it’s a fantastic and powerful novel about friendship, family, and loyalty.

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai (Goodreads): Thanhha Lai has received some well-deserved recognition including the National Book Award and as a Newberry Honor Book.  Inside Out & Back Again is a story of overcoming adversity, discovering a new world, and the importance of family.  It’s a book that both middle grade and young adult readers will appreciate because despite the age and circumstance of the main character, many of us have felt different and misunderstood.  It’s a beautiful novel and certainly one worth reading.

** More Verse Novels Worth Reading **

The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan (Goodreads)

Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall (Goodreads)

May B. by Caroline Starr Rose (Goodreads)

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