Every summer I make a summer reading list and dream of reading in the afternoon sunshine until I lapse into a nap and wake up around dinner time. However, like with most things, I tend to over do it and put 30+ books on my list. I always encourage kids to have a long to-read list but, at the same time, it's not always very realistic if there's an end date. So, this year I'm encouraging my students to do this: Write a list of every book you would love to read this summer and pick your top 5 books you want to read. Here's my list ( which I'm sure will get scribbles and additions soon! ).
Here's an up close on my top 5 and why I picked them.
Number 1: Everything, Everything is about a girl who is trapped in her room because she is allergic to the rest of the world. Her world is pretty boring until a boy named Olly moves in next door and then things get pretty interesting. Not only is the cover beautiful but the tag line, "The greatest risk is not taking one," is, well, everything. This book has also been compared to Eleanor and Park and If I Stay so I'm excited to read it!
Number 2: The Heir
I read The Selection series a while ago and flew through it. Sure, it's basically The Bachelor in young adult book form but if this guilty pleasure is wrong, I don't want to be right. The series was such a fun, light, escapist read and therefore makes this next book the perfect summer read.
Number 3: Every Last Word
Every Last Word is about a girl named Sam who is just trying to make it through high school like everybody else, except one thing is really getting in the way: her OCD. After loving All the Bright Places, as well as other books in which characters struggle with something, especially mental illness, I am really intrigued by this. I honestly don't know that much about OCD and am hoping this will open my eyes.
Number 4: The Crossover
This book has been very popular this year with my students so I definitely need to read it. It's unique in that it's told in verse and this plus the sports element draws a lot of students to it and will make it a great change of pace book for me. I'm hoping for a similar experience like I had with Boy 21 where I don't necessarily like basketball but I love the story.
Number 5: American Born Chinese
This book was recommended to me by a classmates a few months ago and I just haven't gotten to read it yet. It is a continuing goal of mine to read more graphic novels since I've read a sum total of two, ever. Graphic novels entice a lot of hesitant readers and are a different type of reading for me so I want to make sure to read more of them -- adding this one to my summer reading list will help me accomplish this goal.
Of course, I'm longing to read many more than this. I'm hoping to continue to do many book reviews here and maybe even some video book reviews! Any books you're dying to read this summer? What are your top 5?
Cruel Crown is a companion novella for the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard. Cruel Crown is made up of two stories: One is Cal's mother, Coriane's, story and the other is Captain Farley's story. Personally, I wasn't as drawn into these stories as I was by the Red Queen novels.
I did really enjoy hearing stories from Coriane since we didn't get to know her at all in the series since she died before they began. I also really like how Aveyard drew many parallels between Cal and his mother, which not only made me feel like I was getting to know a new character but that my knowledge of Cal was also deepened ( and he's one of my favorites! ).
I also felt like I got to know Farley better which was nice since she was such a mysterious and less detailed character in the series. I have always been intrigued by her and liked seeing a more human, personal side to her. I do wish that this novella came out after the third book, rather than before it, as I feel that this is more of an addition while we're still seeking a completion to the series.
Ultimately, I enjoyed this novella and can't wait for the third book in the series! I'm really hoping for Farley to have more involvement in the third book and obviously for Mare to overcome -- and her getting a happy ending would be nice, too!
As I was making my summer reading list ( coming soon! ), I was reflecting on the books I've read so far this school year, and I realized that I have read a lot of great ones. So, below, I'm recapping the top 5 books I've read this year.
Number 5: Boy 21
I picked up Boy 21 after a website recommendation and in hopes of inspiring some of my reluctant male readers to try something. I was a bit skeptical about liking it because I really don't care about basketball. I was hooked by the struggles the characters went through and how they grew and changed because of it. If you don't like basketball, don't worry: there's plenty of drama, romance, complications, struggle, and survival to keep you invested -- but not enough that a basketball loving boy would stop reading it either. I loved how the main character, Findley, grew up over the course of the book and learned what's really important. This book was a delightful surprise for me and one I highly recommend!
Number 4: All the Bright Places
I also found this book through a website recommendation and was hooked by Amazon's comparison to The Fault in Our Stars and Eleanor and Park, two other book loves of mine. Violet and Finch are both quirky characters with unique and vibrant personalities and these kinds of characters are what make me fall for a book. Add to that the themes of growing up, first loves, and mental health and this is a winner. If mental health isn't close to your heart like it is mine, you will still love the way Niven develops the characters and how the story unfolds. A must read if you like Young Adult Fiction.
Number 3: Stolen
I was really skeptical about this book as well. It was recommended in Penny Kittle's Book Love (which is also a totally fantastic read!) and wasn't sure how I felt about reading a book about a kidnapping. I wasn't keen on the idea of reading a really creepy book (never watched a horror movie in my life!) and didn't want anything heinous to happen to one of the characters. I was totally surprised by this book. I loved the way the author handled the situation in what felt like a realistic and yet engaging way. She didn't victimize the kidnapped girl or demonize the male kidnapper and that made me need to keep reading. Was he such a bad guy after all? Will she ever escape? Does she still want to? If you like mysteries then this is for you!
Number 2: Red Queen / Glass Sword
Technically two books, but I am pretty obsessed with this series. I discovered Red Queen before it was really popular, at least in my area, and, since I've read it, it has spread like wildfire across my classes. It is a lot like many of the other dystopian novels that are so popular, especially my all time favorite, Divergent. I read this series at the same time as The Young Elites ( if I had a top 10 this would have made it! ) and they have many similarities -- magic powers, dystopian themes, and strong female leads. If you love dystopian novels, strong women, conflicted characters, struggle and growth, twists and turns, and romance and love triangles, well, you must read this. This is pretty much a tie with number 1!
How long do you think Aveyard will make up wait for book number 3? I'm dying here!
Number 1: Delirium Series
This year I discovered Lauren Oliver through this series and I haven't looked back. She is now one of my all time favorite authors and that is in large part due to this series. First, I think it is SO COOL that these novels are based in Portland, Maine. Second, it is another dystopian novel and I'm a sucker for that. Third, the premise of the story ( love is a disease and you are given an operation to remove your ability to love so that society stays safe ) is fascinating to me. I love that throughout the book Lena, another strong female lead, must learn to question everything she's ever known and, of course, she experiences love for herself, while also challenging society and discovering long buried family secrets. If you love action, dystopian novels, romance, or just want a great read, you need this book in your life!
I'm dying to know: What were your top reads of this year?
"'Have you really read all those books in your room?' Alaska laughing- 'Oh God no. I’ve maybe read a third of ‘em. But I’m going to read them all. I call it my Life’s Library. Every summer since I was little, I’ve gone to garage sales and bought all the books that looked interesting. So I always have something to read.'" -John Green