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!
Hi book fiends!
Today, I'm talking about a book that is part of a series that convinced some of my reluctant girl readers last year. If you've been around the YA romance block, you've probably heard of The Selection series written by Kiera Cass. The Selection series is basically The Bachelor in YA book form with some political intrigue thrown in. The Heir is the fourth book in the series and follows the heir (see what she did there) of the marriage from the selection in the first three books. It is more of a spin off than part of the series, in my opinion.
What I liked about this book was that we still got to be in the same world that Cass started in The Selection and yet meet new characters. I also enjoyed that she kept it interesting with the under current of political unrest, similar to the first three books.
But. . . I felt that the whole book was the prologue to the next book where ( I hope! ) all of the action will happen. Don't get me wrong--I read it; I liked it, but it lacked the, well, action that the first three books had. In all honesty I felt this way about the second book in the series as well (that she was dragging things out) so I have high hopes for book 5. Though, I'm really hoping it's just going to be a book 5 and not to be books 5 and 6.
I liked that The Heir had a female lead but I found her to be self centered and immature, which I think Cass intended. I'm not sure Cass' gamble of making the narrator an irritating character paid off--I spent a lot of the book rolling my eyes at the heir, Eadlyn, but I can see that Cass is going to win us over in the end (if the reader makes it to the next book) because there are times when she's caring and sincere. If you liked The Selection, I would definitely recommend this book. First of all, then I could have someone to talk to about it! Also, I think you would also enjoy seeing the characters of the first three books nineteen years later and I think book 5 will be great so you want to be ready for it.
You would like this book if you like. . .
*The Selection series
*guilty pleasure / beach reads
Have you read The Heir ? What did you think?
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?
Hey book friends!
How's your week been? We are in the midst of, as one of my teacher friends calls it, a month of Sundays. I'm not saying it's the end of summer ( never! ) but the new school year is coming fast. I'm excited but also nervous ( of course! ) and have a lot of work to do to get ready. We've also been doing birthday advent around our house since David's birthday is at the end of the month--and on my first day back at work, sadly. I've been doing something fun or giving David a small gift every day, which I've done as Christmas advent for years, but this year I wanted to try doing it for his birthday, too. I'll do a post on that next month if you guys are interested!
Onto the book!
Stand Off is the sequel to Winger. I would say it's one of those sequels that if you haven't read the first one then you really won't get the second one. Sure, you could read it but it wouldn't be very good. Both books are about a boy named Ryan Dean West who, in Stand Off, is a 15 year old senior. At the opening of Stand Off, Ryan Dean is still struggling with what happened at the end of the first book ( which I will NOT spoil for you--you know how I feel about that! ).
One of the absolute best parts about both Winger and Stand Off is the voice the author gives Ryan Dean -- he is a very funny, very typical 15 year old boy who is struggling with self-image, relationships, school, and of course hormones. The author uses a lot of internal monologue to give us insight into Ryan Dean, as well as his comics, which are fantastic.
It took me a little while to get into Stand Off because I felt it started a little slow--BUT since I loved Winger so much, I knew it would be worth sticking it out so I did. Although I feel the author could have cut out a bunch of material in the beginning, I loved how the characters evolved in this book and it didn't just feel like a "Winger 2.0." I literally laughed out loud at parts of this book ( LOVE it when that happens! ) and definitely cried in parts of the book, too. Stand Off is about personal growth and reflection while also telling of ridiculous teenage boy adventures.
You would like Stand Off if you like books that are . . .
about self discovery
about character growth
"boy books" ( though, I'm not a boy and I think girls can appreciate these books, too! )
Stand Off also reminded me a bit of Paper Towns or The Abundance of Katherines so if you liked either of those then you would probably like Stand Off. I had a few students this year who never considered themselves readers finish both Winger and Stand Off, even though they are longer books, and love them so if you're hesitant, give them a try; I think you'd really enjoy them!
Have a great weekend everyone!
Hey book lovers!
Doesn't that title just grab you right away? It made me immediately wonder, stop pretending. . . what?
Like The Crossover, Stop Pretending is told in free verse. This makes it a unique and fast read; I think I read it in a few hours. It was very popular among my girls, like most of the Sonya Sones books, and would be great for hesitant readers since it is engaging and quick paced.
Stop Pretending is about a girl whose sister has a mental breakdown. One minute, she and her sister are best friends, sharing their lives and preparing for Christmas and then on, Christmas Eve, everything changes. Throughout the book, the protagonist struggles to deal with her sister's illness, how others perceive it, and how to reconcile her new sister with the one she's always known. It is dramatic, emotional, engaging, unique, and quick.
You would like Stop Pretending if you like books that are. . .
from a girl's perspective
about family relationships / sisters
about mental illness / health
Stop Pretending reminded me of All the Bright Places because the author wrote the book because of her own experiences with mental illness and a desire to educate others and break down the stigma around mental illness, which is a cause that is near and dear to my heart.
Have you read Stop Pretending or other Sonya Sones books? What did you think?
Happy Friday, book people!
Everything, Everything was at the top of my summer reading list and I'm so happy that it was. If you're looking for a great read this weekend, please read Everything, Everything ! It is one of my new favorites and I can't wait to share it with you. First of all, how much do you love that cover? I mean, "The greatest risk is not taking one" is one of the best lines and sentiments. It's easy to get safe in our own lives and this book really tackles that issue. The other visual part I love about this book ( besides the beautiful cover! ) are the illustrations all throughout the book. Everything, Everything is Nicola Yoon's first book and her husband did all of the illustrations; how cute is that? The illustrations are great, too.
Everything, Everything is about a girl named Madeline who is allergic to the world. Her mother is a doctor and her primary care taker and has transformed their house into a safe, sealed environment so that her air is filtered and no one can come in without being decontaminated. Madeline is eighteen and doesn't remember ever being outside, having friends, eating most foods, or having most of the childhood memories that we all take for granted. Her life is perfectly safe, organized, and ordered. . .until a boy named Olly moves in next door. Madeline develops her spy skills and starts to learn about Olly but then Olly becomes interested in her. They strike up a friendship through an online relationship but resist telling each other their secrets. I'll try not to spoil any more from you but it's a must read, in my opinion!
You would like Everything, Everything if you like books that are . . .
about unique situations
Have you read Everything, Everything? Are you going to add it to your summer reading list? Please say yes!
Is it weird to love a book more than the story it contains? A Monster Calls is such a unique book: it is not quite a graphic novel but the illustrations are just beyond. I fell in love with them. I'm not a person who is really into art or moved by theater but these illustrations just resonated with me. I think they added so much to this book and they simply blew me away.
I mean. . . come on!
And this is the inside cover--yes!
Another thing I love about this book is that the beginning was originally written by someone else. If you read the author's note, it describes how the idea for the book and beginning were created by Siobhan Dowd and, after her death, Patrick Ness, the author of A Monster Calls, used what she made as inspiration for this book, which I just think is amazing. It's so cool to me that one author can inspire another to make something great. It kind of gives me the chills ( #nerdalert ).
A Monster Calls is about a boy named Conor who has a monster who visits him nightly at 12:07 A.M. Surprisingly Conor is not afraid of the monster: As he says, he has bigger, scarier things to be afraid of: his mother has cancer, and, on top of that, his father lives in America and hasn't visited him in England in years, school is no walk in the park, and everyone has treated him differently since finding out about his mother.
Throughout the book Conor learns the importance of speaking his truth. So many lines Ness wrote stood out to me, but this had the most impact:
You do not write your life with words, the monster said. You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.
Though I, again, found the book rather predictable, it gave me all the feels and I love how throughout the book Conor was forced to examine his choices and learn that his reactions to the events in his life made all the difference.
You'd like A Monster Calls if you like books that are. . .
short / quick reads
about growing up / coming of age
What have you been reading lately?
If you've seen my summer reading list then you know that one of my top five books to read this summer is American Born Chinese. I've been wanting to read this since a classmate recommended it and because I don't read that many graphic novels; I've been wanting to give graphic novels more of a chance. The first thing I noticed with the change in format is that uh. . . I'm old. The font was smaller and therefore harder for me to read. Time to get glasses?
Once I got over the format adjustment, I started to enjoy the book. The first thing that threw me for a loop was that the story is actually three stories that combine at the end of the book. This confused me at first and I can see it being confusing for my students as well. As the book continued, I got more comfortable with the format and stories and they started to blend together and make sense. Also, I had to do something for a minute so I put down the book. My husband picked it up and was like, "this book is awesome!" so perhaps more of a "guy book" than a "girl book."
American Born Chinese is about a boy who is trying, desperately, to assimilate to American culture so he can fit in. He eventually realizes that this comes at the cost of giving up not only his heritage and culture but, ultimately, himself. I love that the theme becomes learning to be who you are no matter how others treat you or who they want you to be. I think this is relatable to all teenagers, and people, whether they are a minority or not. So, the theme really won me over more than anything else.
You would like American Born Chinese if you like books that are. . .
witty / funny
about self discovery / being yourself
What are some other good graphic novels? I'm looking for more!
"'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