Hi book friends!
Are you ready for a great, different book? I'm always on the lookout for "boy books" and when the great Penny Kittle talked about this book at a recent conference, I pretty much pulled up Amazon and ordered it that minute. This one did not disappoint!
Dirt Bikes, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly is about a boy named Arlo who recently and tragically just lost his mother. His sister, Siouxsie, has a degenerate disease and really relied on their mother. Their father has lost his way. Arlo turns to tricks and speed on his dirt bike and a drone video game to deal with everything. Arlo gets so good at the drone video game that the U.S. government takes notice and tries to recruit him to fly drones for him ( teen boy fantasy, am I right? ).
In the dirt bike trick, dare devil, drone flying, video game loving, teen boy way, it's for sure a boy book BUT I loved this book. Yes, I read a wider range of books than most teen girls and it's not for everyone, but a major theme in the book is also how Arlo and his family try to cope with the loss of Arlo's mother. This part of the book I found really relatable. This loss, as well as a few other conflicts in the book, force Arlo to figure out who he really is and who wants to be so it's a coming of age novel as much as anything else. Dealing with loss and figuring out who we are -- that's relatable and what I loved about this book, which is partly why it reminds me of The Sky is Everywhere. They're very different books but this, to me, is like boy version of that book.
You would love Dirt Bikes, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly like I did if you like. . .
coming of age books
dirt bikes or drones, of course
books about grief or moving on
a good read!
I was pleasantly surprised by this one and I think you will be too!
Hi book friends!
In my classes we've been reading Orbiting Jupiter for the Global Read Aloud, which has been a fantastic experience. When I looked at the book choices for this year, I noticed All American Boys right away. First of all, I love the cover but I also love that the book is very relevant to an important issue in America right now. All American Boys is about two boys, Rashad and Quinn, who become part of a situation that ignites racial as well as police and citizen tensions.
Rashad is a black teenager who plays basketball and is being constantly lectured by his father to do the right things and be a good citizen. So, it's a complete shock to him when, just after changing out of his ROTC uniform and into his baggy pants, he's shopping in a store, a woman trips over him, and a nearby cop assumes he's stealing.
Meanwhile, Quinn happens upon the scene and watches the officer violently arrest Rashad. He later realizes that, even worse, Rashad is a basketball teammate and the officer is none other than Quinn's best friend's older brother who has acted like a father to Quinn after Quinn's father died serving his country. Quinn is left confused and spinning trying to figure out what is right and wrong, what racism really is, and what it means to be loyal.
You might love All American Boys as much as I did if you like. . .
a book that is truly relevant to today's world and current events
stories in dual perspectives
a book that makes you think
or even a change of pace.
I loved that we got both boy's stories, that they intertwined, that the characters were incredibly complex and real, and that even the "victim" and "aggressor" weren't treated as such. The authors ( love that it's two authors! ) took a complex issue and dealt with it honestly -- not over-simplifying or jamming a lesson down your throat. It's a book that makes you think about the world and yourself. I highly recommend it!
All Fall Down is a book that's been in my to-read stack for a while. It's not that I didn't want to read it; in fact, I kept saving it as my reward for when I finished some other reads. It is totally up my alley: mystery, intrigue, action, possible romance, and a strong female lead--YES.
All Fall Down is about a girl named Grace who comes to live at the U.S. embassy in Adria. Grace is still reeling from the loss of her mother three years ago. Everyone in her life keeps insisting that "it was an accident" but Grace isn't buying it. The only problem is that she's been causing problems trying to prove it for three years and has unearthed, well, nothing except a whole lot of issues for her family, including her grandfather who is the U.S. ambassador.
Her predicament changes a bit when she meets a few friends and also catches a glimpse of someone she thinks may have been involved with her mother's death but she and her family have been down this line before and she can't afford to be wrong this time.
You'd like All Fall Down if you like. . .
friendship + / teamwork
I can't wait to read the next book and the third one is coming out soon! What are you reading recently?
Last week we talked about The Heir and how, while I liked it, I was left kind of wanting more and hoping I'd find it in the last book, The Crown. GOOD NEWS: I did!
The Crown is the fifth and (so far) final book in The Selection series. Princess Eadlyn is starting to narrow down and finalize her selection while trying to deal with the crises from the last book and keep the media and people happy. She has quite a lot to deal with!
I don't want to say too much because we all know how I hate spoilers--BUT, I DID have the same experience that I did with the 2nd & 3rd books where in the 2nd I was disappointed but the 3rd made up for it. Eadlyn definitely came around and was a much more enjoyable character to spend time with in this book. I really loved how the author chose to tie everything together at the end and resolve some of the conflicts. I will say she didn't end up with who I was rooting for (which I'll only tell you if you read the book!) but I think it was still a good outcome.
You would like The Crown if you. . .
*read the rest of the series
*liked The Elite
*enjoy "girl books"
*enjoy complications and suspense
*want to see character growth
I definitely liked this book and would recommend it if you liked the rest of the series or other romance centered books.
What are you reading this weekend? I'm thinking about starting either All Fall Down or The Martian but I'm also reading Minds Made For Stories for my non-fiction and teacher read. Have a great weekend everyone!
Have you read it? Are you into it? Do you want me to just skip ahead and tell you what I think of it?
I loved it.
I know, bold! I will say this: I had very low expectations of this book. Let's keep in mind a few things:
1. This was NOT written by J.K. Rowling so if you're expecting another Harry Potter then just stop.
2. It's a PLAY, so not your typical book.
3.After such a long time and so much fandom, it's pretty hard to live up to anything fans might be expecting, and I don't think the authors were trying to do that. This is something new; I think it should be read as something new.
4. The reviews from other people? Not so great. I think because of the first three things.
Okay! With all of that said, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is about Harry's life twenty years after the last book. ( Can I just assume you've all read all of the original HP books? If not, there will be spoilers--you've been warned! ) It took me a while to remember many things about where we left off, like that Harry is married to Ginny, Hermione is married to Ron, and Snape is actually a good guy. So, you might want to brush up on your HP knowledge before you dive back in.
So, it's about Harry ( and Ginny, Hermione, Ron, and Draco's ) life 20 years later but mostly about Harry's youngest son Albus. Albus doesn't love being the son of the great Harry Potter and doesn't get along with his father. Harry is old and tired and ( gasp! ) flawed in this book, which I'm guessing is why a lot of people don't like it. He's not the one great wizard anymore, but honestly I don't think Rowling painted him that way either--he's always been flawed, conflicted, humble, and definitely had/ has some of that survivor's / hero guilt going on.
What I liked: I think the authors actually did a (surprisingly) good job of honoring who the characters continued to be nineteen years later. We all grow and change, especially in nearly two decades, and I think this book reflects that while also staying true to who the characters were at the end of the series. Also, surprisingly, I really liked that Draco Malfoy played a big part in this book. I know that how he's portrayed in this book is pretty different from the other books, but, again, it's been nineteen years and we all grow up and move on. What may not have been appreciated by others was one of my favorite parts. Lastly, and this maybe is a spoiler even though I'm being intentionally vague, just like the other HP books, the problems were solved by a group of people ( no one can do it alone! ) and with smarts + love. The kid in me who secretly read HP while I should have been sleeping was just so totally happy reading this book.
What I didn't love: I wasn't a fan of Hermione in this book. I think she got boiled down; there wasn't as much wit, fire, and impressive smarts like the other books. She kind of got turned into "Ron's wife" and that was annoying; I wish she'd played a bigger role. I also didn't love it as a play--that's just a reader preference and I'm not used to reading plays. I actually thought this would be a bigger problem for me but I adjusted to it quickly and didn't find it irritating to read in this format. I just would have preferred the greater detail I think a novel can provide.
So, you would love this book too if you like. . .
*Is saying Harry Potter too obvious?
*Adventure and mayhem
*magic, wizards, and cool stuff
*Sequels / series books
This book reminded me of why I love books. I read it I think in less than two days and it was the perfect summer read -- so fun and nostalgic and good all on its own at the same time. Please, tell me you'll give it a chance? Let me know in the comments if / when you read it!
Hi book friends!
Even though the book posts on here have been pretty consistent, I have a confession: I had a lull of reading where I just didn't read very much at all for a few weeks. I read a ton at the beginning of July (hence the consistent posting) and loved it. I was back in that reading flow where I remember why I love reading and it just feels so natural. Then, we moved and renovated and things were crazy; everything we thought would be simple (getting internet or our appliances) turned out to be way more of a struggle than we anticipated and so reading fell to the back burner. My students think I don't understand this or that I read constantly, but I get why it's hard to find time to read or reading being hard. BUT, this book brought me back. It took me a while to finish it for the above reasons but it's getting me back to my regular reading and I"m pretty excited about that.
So, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is about a teen boy named Jacob and his grandfather, who tells him outrageous stories about childhood friends who can levitate or make fire or have mouthes in the back of their heads. He even shows Jacob old pictures. At first, Jacob believes him but, as he grows older and is confronted with the unlikely reality of these stories, he decides that his grandfather made them up to deal with the trauma of being the only survivor in his family and then fighting in war. However, a sudden turn of events upends Jacob's seemingly normal life and makes him question everything he'd come to assume about his grandfather and his tales until he decides to go on a quest to get all of his questions answered.
There were a lot of things that kept me coming back to this book. First, I love that the author included the old photographs, which he talks about at the end of the book and says that all of the pictures are real and were the inspiration for the book ( which of course I also love! ). One thing that often bothers me with books, sometimes particularly YA books, is that they can be predictable. I'm happy to say that I didn't see many of the twists in this book coming. These continuing surprises made it a great read for me. Finally, more than I would think, kids ask me for recommendations of horror books and it always throws me. I'm not a horror fan at all so I never know what to recommend and especially what is age appropriate. This book is definitely horror but in a way that I would feel comfortable recommending it to middle schoolers. I'm psyched to have this recommendation in my pocket for any horror readers this year!
You would like this book if you like. . .
*horror, mystery, or sci-fi
*characters who have unique talents or don't fit in
*suspense or twists and turns
*characters on quests or journeys to find answers
*a good read!
Any of you horror readers? Any good recommendations for my horror loving kids?
"'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