It’s kind of part of my job, but it’s a task I don’t mind.
Because I teach high school remedial reading, it’s important that I know the plots of books that might interest my students. This knowledge helps me recommend books according to individual students’ needs.
Having read the books myself lends credibility to my recommendations.
I also tend to get a bit excited about books, and that feeling transfers to what are usually reluctant readers.
I keep track of my books on Goodreads. If you’ve never used this site, run to it, set up your free account, and post your own reviews.
During 2014, I was able to finish reading 59 books. I read thirteen of those books during my summer break.
Favorites that stood out:
All of Jennifer Brown’s books. Seriously. Bitter End made me cry. Thousand Words needs to be read by every single middle and high schooler. Seriously.
Neal Shusterman’s Bruiser also made me cry. I fear that I have become a sap in my middle age. The message of this book is poignant. I might do this as a lengthy read aloud next year.
Unbroken…this will forever be in my top ten of biographies. I cannot wait to see the movie!!!
Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver series was beautifully crafted, as was her Scorpio Races book. Ahmazing (spelling purposely skewed for effect).
Positive, by Paige Rawl made me cry…several times…and angered my mama heart for this gentle young woman. I am currently reading this to my students, and you should hear the discussions we are having! This is the true story of a young woman, now currently twenty years old, who was born with HIV. She was tormented by bullies until she finally found her voice. I adore her…her courage…her classiness through what would normally have people cursing. You must add it to your reading list.
Now, I have to say that I did not enjoy a few of the books I read.
NOS4A2…a horror-like ditty that had a decidedly inappropriate feel to it. I had purchased it for my classroom but threw it in the trash after I finished.
Matched was good. The other two books in the series were not.
The same thing happened with Wither. This book was good. The other two were not. The term sister wives will forever make me want to puke.
Surprisingly, I did not enjoy the book Heaven is for Real. I felt like the father, the author of the book, spent more time talking about himself than was necessary. The point of the book was that his son glimpsed heaven. I think that there wasn’t enough material to justify an entire book so he filled in.
Wendy Corsi Staub’s books drove me nuts. The story lines were good. Her usage of verb tenses was horrid. I won’t read any more of her books.
The Duff had a good message but was too explicit for me. I’m still debating whether or not I’ll put it back in my classroom.
The same goes for Looking for Alaska. I hated the first half of this book but enjoyed the latter third. Still, a few of the scenes had me picking my jaw off the floor. There are ways for writers of young adult fiction to let their readers know that teenage characters are engaging in sexual activities without describing those activities in detail. Sheesh.
That, my friends, are just a few of my thoughts.
I’m eager to see what I can finish in 2015.