Vanity Fair by W.M. Thackeray
This book is speaks to the worldliness and carnal state of man, teaching the reader the pitfalls of living selfishly, pridefully, lavishly, and passively. It is a satire that follows the decisions two women make throughout their lives and the consequences that ultimately follow.
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli & Firegirl by Tony Abbott
Ripper by Stefan Petrucha
This book had such great potential, but I was ultimately disappointed in the story. The premise is that Jack the Ripper has come to America to continue his onslaught on the women of New York City. The book was not gruesome, but it was boring. It was SO SLOW! I know my students have really enjoyed it, and I only struggled through it for their sakes.
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
I attended a professional conference for English teachers earlier this month, and this book was described as "better than The Hunger Games" by two authors whom I very much admire. It's about pioneers who left their home planet to settle a new world, only to discover that something about their new home made it so that everyone could hear what men were thinking. The women died off and men live crudely, but things are not what they seem.
I was hesitant about this book, but read it because of the glowing recommendations. It just sounded like too much of a boy book for me, and I think I was right. Don't get me wrong- it was action packed and at one point I cried my eyes out (I had to stop reading and tell Matt through my sobs what had happened), but I still don't think I'll be finishing the trilogy anytime soon.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
I saw this book on several YA recommendation lists, so I gave it a go. The story shares a unique perspective of WWII, that of the women who volunteered to fly planes alongside the RAF. I was completely ignorant to the part the played in the war- it is fascinating. The plot is multifaceted and intriguing, and the characters are fantastic.
Shadow & Bone and Siege & Storm by Leigh Bardugo
LOVED IT! After reading several books that I liked but never got excited about, this was a like a breath of fresh air. Start to finish, I read the book in 24 hours. I couldn't put it down. The story contains excellent characters, setting, twists, and details. The author did such an amazing job making the story "believable." I was especially drawn in by how well her first person narration coincided with my view of the world she had created. I saw what the main character saw, believed what she believed, and had the same reactions she did as the story progressed.
I was so pumped about Shadow & Bone, that my expectations for Siege & Storm were understandably high. I picked this book up from my local library the morning after I finished Shadow & Bone, and sadly, this side-by-side comparison has left me disappointed in the sequel. So much of the beginning just felt like filler. Also, some of the changes that took place felt unnatural and unprecedented. The story did get better by the end, but it was hard to get into. I've noticed that is common with the "middle child" book in a trilogy. I'm on the wait list for the final book- fingers crossed that it will live up to its predecessors!