I have committed to do the 25 Book Challenge along with my students. If I can make time, then they certainly can! As a busy first-year teacher, I am trying to set aside one hour each night before I go to bed for reading. It can be a sacrifice, but the reward has been worth it. Here are the five books I read during September:
If I Stay
By Gayle Forman
This book was recommended to me by several of my students (I ended up borrowing it from one of them). This is a good book, a real tear-jerker, but the author has a habit of laying the emotion on pretty heavy-handedly. It follows the easy TFIOS formula of tragedy and romance, but it offers a unique perspective and original story. I can definitely see why adolescent girls are loving it. It's not a book I would keep in my class library because of language.
Lady Almina & The Real Downton Abbey
by Fiona Carnarvon, the Countess of Carnarvon
As someone who has enjoyed Downton Abbey, learning more about the real characters and history of Highclere Castle was especially interesting. The true legacy of these people and this place is quite remarkable. Their contributions and generosity during WWI were incredible. They played vital roles in history throughout the war and with the financing and discovery of King Tut's tomb.
This is not a book I think my middle schoolers would enjoy, but I was completely captivated!
By Ashley Edward Miller
A lot of my students read this as part of their summer reading, but I just wasn't a big fan. I think the authors did a great job of portraying Asperger Syndrome, which is an excellent topic for a YA realistic fiction novel; however, I found the plot and characters unbelieveable. I simply felt they were trying too hard.
By Marjane Satrapi
This is a very interesting representation of the Iranian Cultural Revolution told in graphic novel format from the perspective of a child. I was drawn to it because of Maus, and ultimately thought this book did a better job of portraying non-fiction through a graphic novel. I am still not a huge fan of this format, but I appreciate the art and the potential it presents to reach new audiences.
Language and some content are probably too mature for YA Lit
The house on Mango Street
by Sandra Cisneros
The use of figurative language in this book made the prose feel more like poetry- there is so much heart in the writing that you feel as if you are experiencing each short narrative through the eyes of the author as a child.
While this book was beautifully written, I didn't enjoy the flow and couldn't get into her storytelling style; however, I understand why it is a celebrated piece of literature.