Category Archives: Young Adult Literature

Does My Head Look Big in This?- Randa Abdel-Fattah

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So my favorite part about this book, and it sounds kinda stupid now that I think about it, was the fact that the main character, Amal, lived in Australia.  The reason for this favoritism is because I went to Australia for a track meet two years ago and am determined to go back.  But this blog post isn’t about me.

Amal is a sixteen year old girl attending high school and decides to take the next big step in her religious practice.  Wearing the hijab.  To a teenager attending a school with many other judgmental peers, this is a brave move to make.  She endures many taunts from her high school nemesis but she benefits from wearing the hijab.  I would probably have never been that brave when I was her age so this is something that I like about her character.

Another thing I liked about this book was the relationship Amal develops with her neighbor. For me these parts of the book, her meetings with her neighbor, were the funniest and most enjoyable to read.  I liked to see how Amal changed her neighbor into an approachable, lovable person that was just as outcast as Amal felt.  I liked how Amal finally got her neighbor to call her son after so many years of silence between them.

My classmate, Jaycie, had a very difficult time reading this book and I completely understand why.  The book had its moments but it just wasn’t as captivating to me as other books I’ve read this semester.  I mean, I liked it…kinda.  It didn’t take me as long to read as I thought it would but maybe that’s because I had Divergent to motivate me to finish the book.

I think I’ll have this book in my classroom library, although I may never read it again.  I think some kids could definitely benefit from reading this book, especially those that need encouragement or inspiration to be brave to do and wear what they want, no matter what their classmates say.  It would help me teach students to be individuals, because that is one of my pet peeves, when people try to fit in so hard that they become fake. 

All in all, I am neutral with this book.  It was OK.

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Rules- Cynthia Lord

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I won’t lie.  I didn’t enjoy reading this book.  It’s sweet and I understand why some people might enjoy it but I just couldn’t make myself read more than a chapter every two days.  It was because of this that it took me quite a long time to finish reading this book. 

Ok, so now maybe you’re wondering why I dislike this book.  Catherine just seemed a little too self-absorbed to me.  She usually only worried about herself, her image, how other people would think of her.  She never seemed to stop and take time to think about what life might be like in another persons body.  I mean, yeah, she cared about her brother but she was always worried about what people would think if they met him and he said something embarrassing.

I don’t know, I will probably have this book in my classroom library.  Other people enjoy this book, it’s won awards.  Maybe I just need to reread it after some time has passed and then maybe I’ll like it better.  I don’t know, I just couldn’t get into it.

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass- Meg Medina

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This book was a little hard for me to get into at first but once I did, I couldn’t put it down until it was finished.  I really enjoyed this book, even though it took so long for me to get into. It had a satisfying ending that made me feel like everything in the book had been solved.

The mother daughter relationship is something that truly shocked me.  My relationship with my mother is completely different than the one in this book.  I don’t hate my mother.  I may have wished I could run away but I never actually did.  Admittedly, I did get one block away before turning around and saying, “Just kidding!”  I guess I was a pretty easy child to deal with. 

I really liked the way the reader changes with Piddy as her attitude and maturity changes. Piddy is a very emotional character and somehow Meg Medina is able to make the reader experience Piddy’s change with her. Another thing I really liked was Piddy’s relationship with the neighbor boy, Joey. It seemed to come out of nowhere to me, but I ended up really liking it. Joey was there for her when no one could be. He was her friend, someone for her to escape with, even though she doesn’t leave with him in the end.

Throughout the book I had kept hoping that would meet her dad and start a good relationship with him. It wasn’t until the whole, true story about her father came into light that I really felt for Piddy’s mom and wished that she could get revenge on him for what he did to the both of them.

I will definitely have this book in my classroom library. I would hope that my students will be able to enjoy this book as much as I did, and maybe even help some students get through the horrible trial that is high school/middle school.

An Abudance of Katherines- John Green

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I’m not gonna lie; this was not my favorite John Green book.  Don’t get me wrong, it was very good, it just wasn’t my favorite.  I still love John Green books, don’t worry. 

Things I loved about this book:

The math

The history

The language

 

It’s a very intelligently written.  I had a question while reading this book and that question was, “Is Gutshot TN a real place?”  No, sadly there is not a real place.  John Green says that it was a mixture of places that he had visited as a child.  Too bad, I was planning a road trip.

All John Green books are going in my classroom library, no questions asked. 

Bomb- Steve Sheinkin

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I have learned so much from this book! This book taught me more than my high school history classes ever did. Having said this, it did take me a while to get to the end of this book because it was non-fictional instead of my favorite fiction/fantasy stories. It was very well written and was a new way to read about wars and history than I am used to. I enjoyed it very much.

I loved the pictures of the real people that the story follows as time in their world moves on. The very last page in the story is what struck me most. The knowledge of the number of bombs and their amazing destructive ability is heart-stopping. It truly scares me, like no other horror movie or book has been able to.

I would definitely include this book in my future classroom library. I remember many of my high school classmates enjoy history class and wanting to learn more about the wars we were involved in, but our English teachers were never able to provide, or never thought to provide, a book that would fit their interests. I’m going to be the teacher that goes out of her way to find a matching book to each of my students. Kids need to read, we, as teachers, need to help them find the right books for the kids.

My Name is Jason. Mine Too. -Reynolds and Griffith

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I really liked this book.  The illustrations were very interesting but fit with the poems really well.  I loved the way the book was put together.  I was literally flipping the book upside down and sideways in order to read the poems and view the illustrations properly.  If I had to chose a poem to be my favorite, I would have to chose the cliche poem.  It was amusing and made me smile.

I would definitely put this book in my classroom library.  I could probably come up with a classroom activity or individual assignments for my future students.  I could bring this book into a poetry unit.  I can see myself using this book in the future and I recommend it to everyone who loves to read.

Speak-Laurie Halse Anderson

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I had read many great reviews about Anderson’s novel, “Speak” so my expectations were pretty high for this book.  Although I do think it’s a good book, I don’t think it’s great. There is a very big issue that is being dealt with in this novel, and that is the sexual violation of a young girl.  Many parents may not want their teenager reading this book because of the issue that it deals with, but I think that teenagers would eat this book up.  It’s so personal and real of a story that kids can drink it up and makes them want to pick up  another book just like it.  

It was a well written story, definitely something to model my own writing on, but I just can’t fall in love with this book.  I have never been in a situation like that, but I do understand how hard it is to reach out and talk to someone.  It’s hard to feel trust for people when you can hardly trust yourself.  The reason this book didn’t sell for me, though, is the way that the main character deals with the problem.  I know it’s hard, but it just seemed to drag on for me.  I was getting bored and tired of reading about the pain she was in.  However, issues like these are confusing and real, and I believe that our future students should be allowed to read this book, just because the realness it holds.  Kids don’t need to read fiction all the time, they need something real, something that will help prepare them for the real world that we live in right now.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian- Sherman Alexie

Image I absolutely loved this book! Loved the illustrations, loved the story, loved all of it! It was beautifully written, and illustrations captured the humor just as the words did.  My youngest brother, Wyatt, likes to read, but he hates required reading.  He is a little like me in my taste of books; he likes fantasy.  Books like “The Hobbit” and “The Inheritance Cycle” are right down our alley.  Sherman Alexie’s book, Part Time Indian, is a story that Wyatt will love, even though it doesn’t fit in the category we usually read.  He would love it and if I get the chance to this summer, I will sit down and read it with him. 

I will have this book in my classroom library, I can see tons of students reading this book.  It deals with real life problems, problems that I haven’t really experienced, but Alexie writes it in a way that I felt like I was there and suffering along with his main character. 

It is a beautiful book that I highly recommend to anyone and everyone!  If you haven’t read it, go to the library, pick up this book and read it.  Now!

Ash- Malinda Lo

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Ash, the lesbian Cinderella.  Honestly, I still don’t know how to feel about this book.  It’s been weeks since I’ve put this book down and I still don’t know how to feel about it.  I am a fantasy novel lover, but this one didn’t quite hit home for me.  I thought the writing was beautiful, definitely something to model my own writing on, but the story itself wasn’t that great for me. 

My favorite part of the book and the character, Ash, is that she does things her way, no matter what.  No one can put her down or force her to do things a way that she doesn’t want to.  I guess I liked the fairies, but for the longest time I didn’t understand their purpose in the story.  I ended up rooting for Sidhean, the male fairy, but alas, Ash falls for the huntress instead. 

All in all, not my favorite fantasy novel but I did like the unexpected ending.  I like that the author took a well known story and twisted it to fit her own ideas.  It was an interesting story, just not my favorite.

“A Wreath for Emmett Till”-Marilyn Nelson

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To prove how utterly sheltered and ignorant I am, I had no idea who Emmett Till was until I read this book. That being said, I absolutely loved the style of this book! The only sonnets that had stuck in my mind before reading this book were some of Shakespeare’s sonnets. Nelson’s sonnets were amazing, vivid, and will stay in my mind just like Shakespeare’s.

I found this book beautifully disturbing, and the illustrations matched the sonnets in this sense. They were beautiful and shocking. It is a truly heart wrenching story that I strongly advice anyone to read.