Book Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go

I love the title of this book. Patrick Ness, whom I'd never heard of before reading this book, is a genius. The Knife of Never Letting Go is a captivating read. The premise of this book is that humans find a new world inhabited by creatures they call the Spackle. Apparently, the Spackle infect the newcomers with a disability that the humans call the noise: The thoughts of men (not women) are no longer private and everyone can hear what men are thinking.

In the town of Prentisstown, where the main character Todd grows up. In this town, there are no women left because they were said to have died off due to a Spackle-inspired disease. Todd is knows no other life and he is the youngest surviving male in Prentisstown, so he does not question the history that he has been told. He remain ignorant of these lies and deceptions until he is thrust into the larger world of the planet. He soon finds that he can trust nothing that he knew and that he needs to fight to stay alive because the entire population of Prentisstown is coming after him.

This is a fast read, though it is over 400 pages. I can't wait to read the next book in this series! It's called The Ask and the Answer. Brilliant!

On My Wishlist: Hamlet

I have to admit that I'm a bit nervous to read a version of Hamlet that's told in novel form. I am excited about this new possibility, but hope that enough of the magic from the original version survives in the novel.

I love a good retelling. I am not a purist and love to think about how a writer's choices affect the overall storyline and message of the original. I've read some modern versions of old favorites that were done well and others that were not done with much care. I love books like Wicked, My Jim, and Zeena, which take characters from The Wizard of Oz, Huckleberry Finn, and Ethan Frome and rewrite the story from the point of view of a different main character. I even loved Rosencrantz and Guildernstern Are Dead, which is a play based on Hamlet but told from the perspective of two minor characters.

Hopefully, I'll muster up the courage and the five dollars (for a used copy) so that I can see for myself if all that I love about the original Hamlet can survive in a novel format. We'll see!

The Book Jacket Giveaway: The Secret Year

Karin the Librarian at The Book Jacket is sponsoring a free giveaway of the book The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard. I haven't read the book yet, but it is on my amazon wishlist. Here's a summary of the book from amazon:
Colt and Julia were secretly together for an entire year, and no one—not even Julia’s boyfriend— knew. They had nothing in common, with Julia in her country club world on Black Mountain and Colt from down on the flats, but it never mattered. Until Julia dies in a car accident, and Colt learns the price of secrecy. He can’t mourn Julia openly, and he’s tormented that he might have played a part in her death. When Julia’s journal ends up in his hands, Colt relives their year together at the same time that he’s desperately trying to forget her. But how do you get over someone who was never yours in the first place?

Sounds great, right?

Enter to win this book and check out The Book Jacket while you're there!

Book Review: Purple Heart

I've loved all of the Patricia McCormick books I've read. This morning, I found that her newest title, Purple Heart, is no exception. I was a little expecting this book to be a bit hoorah, so to speak. But, I was wrong.

Purple Heart starts with a disoriented Matt, a US soldier who has just been struck by an RPG in Iraq. He has only small bits of memories of the attack, but what little he does remember is troubling because it conflicts with what his best soldier friend, Justin, says happened.

I love that McCormick started out her novel this way. Having little understanding of the setting and rituals and normal activities of the Army in Iraq would've made me feel like an outsider as the reader. Because the book starts with a character who has to relearn and work hard to understand what's happening helped ease me into that world. The characters feel real and the setting is chaotic.

I don't think that the Army comes off looking bad in this book. I didn't want this book to be a commentary either for or against war. I was hoping that McCormick would try and walk a sort of neutral line with her plot, and I believe that she did. I think that this makes for a much more powerful and persuasive story because it doesn't read like a preachy anti-war statement or an Army indoctrination. It's great.

I received this book as part of a grant that I wrote to purchase more titles for my male students. It can be hard, being a female teacher, to pick out great reads for boys. I have yet to put it on the free reading shelves in my classroom, but I really feel like this book will appeal to a number of boys in my freshman and sophomore classes. So, kudos to McCormick for another great read!

On My Wishlist: Dizzy in Your Eyes

This is a fairly new addition to my amazon wishlist. I heard about it on the Random Buzz site (where there's a free giveaway of this title) a few weeks ago. This year, I'm using tons and tons of poetry with my students. This is mainly because of Poetry Fridays, where I introduce a new poem for each of my English classes every Friday. I love this weekly feature and so do my students, but the tricky part for me is that I always match the poem to whatever text we're reading. And, when you teach English 9-12, this can be a bit of a tricky feat to pull off on a weekly basis.

So, I'm always looking for collections of poetry for young adults. It's great to use the famous poets of today and yesteryear, but frankly, I want some fresh, YA-focused poetry to get my kids excited about language. This collection of poems seems like something I need to keep this whole Poetry Friday thing going. It contains 50 poems, written in a variety of poetic forms, and it's FOR teens. I think I like that combination.

So, I don't forsee this title being stuck on my wishlist for too long. It seems like it's a title that I can't put off for too long. Poetry Friday is calling!

Book Review: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

I belong to four book clubs. One of my favorite clubs is for English teachers and librarians in our school district. This club also meets online on the English Companion Ning. As I write this post, we have 132 online members. Pretty exciting. I highly recommend this ning to anyone who teaches English or who is a librarian. It's a pretty dynamic place and there's a whole lot being discussed.

Anyway, back to the book review. I read The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks because it was the February selection for this book club. I have to admit that I was not super excited about reading this title. I don't know if it was the prep school premise or the cover or the synopsis on the book flap, but I wasn't "feelin'" it. Almost as soon as I started it, though, I was hooked. Now, I want to caution you that this if not going to be a glowing review. I have some serious issues with the choices of the main character, Frankie. But, it is a surprisingly good read.

The book starts with a letter penned by the title character. The reader can surmise that Frankie has gotten herself into a bit of trouble and that this trouble involves a series of pranks. In this letter, she confesses to being the brains behind the pranks and excludes others from blame for the result of said pranks. This is an interesting way to start the book, because when you meet Frankie you quickly see that she is not the type to pull off a bunch of crazy capers. In fact, she seems a little whiny and slightly boring. So, it's interesting to watch her transformation from super geek to super cool within the first few weeks of her sophomore year.

My problems with Frankie are not related to her being involved in pranks or being a bit of a rabble-rouser. I like that in a teen girl. Kinda reminds me of myself at her age. What I did not like was her false notion of what it means to be a strong woman. I don't think I'll give too much away if I say that Frankie becomes a bit obsessed with an all-male secret society at her school. She finds ways to get information about the society and infiltrates their ranks without them knowing. So, she's smart. But, I don't think that she proves anything by ruining their harmless fun. She does not seem to be stronger for having shown-up a bunch of guys. It seems a little sad and cruel to me. Maybe I'm over thinking this, but I just could not cheer her on as I kept reading.

I did get into this book, though. I was flipping pages as fast as I could to see where it was going. I just didn't agree with Frankie's motivations throughout the book. That's all. I think that this is a good book for a girl who's looking for a mystery. I'm glad I read it, and you probably will be too!

Battle of the Bards: Much Ado About Nothing vs Measure for Measure

Hear ye, hear ye! The Battle of the Bards has begun! The first match is between the comedies Much Ado About Nothing and Measure for Measure. Right now, Much Ado is in the lead. This is a disappointing trend as I picked Measure for Measure to win. Why? Well, when I entered this challenge, I want to choose play I'd read. I haven't read Much Ado About Nothing, so it was automatically out. Granted, Measure for Measure is certainly not my favorite play, but it has its merits.

The Padfoot and Prongs site lists all kinds of facts and stats about each of these plays, so I won't recount too much here, but I will say that the Barbie version of Measure for Measure is brilliant. I mean, I love going to the Theater at Monmouth for all of my Shakespearean needs, but a red-headed Barbie cast as the virtuous Isabella? Genius.

Here is the youtube video of which I speak:

Book Review: Crank

It takes me about three or four hours to read an Ellen Hopkins book. Looking at them, you'd think it would take longer because they're all at least five hundred pages. But, because they're written in verse and so fast-paced, they take no time at all to read. But, once I read one I can't read another for months. Literally. Why?

Let's see. The last Ellen Hopkins book I read was Tricks. It was amazing and powerful and all too real. It was about prostitution. I had nightmares. It was just too good. So, I knew that I needed to read Crank (which has been on my To Be Read Shelf for about two years) but couldn't muster up the courage. I haven't been putting off this book because I didn't want to read it, but because I knew that it would haunt me. And, I was right.

Crank is the about Kristina, who channels an alter ego that she calls "Bree" whenever she feels too safe or dorky or cautious to do things like talk to cute boys or flirt with dangerous situations. Kristina goes on a trip to visit her long-lost dad, but doesn't find the mythical father she's built up in her head. Instead, her dad is a bit of a druggie loser, and it's not long before Kristina is hanging out with the wrong people and experimenting with drugs, hence the title of the book.

When Kristina goes back home to her mother, stepfather and siblings, she does not leave her craving for drugs and risky situations behind. Quickly, she has met a whole host of shady characters who are more than willing to provide her with drugs in exchange for sexual favors. As her need for drugs grows, so does her disconnect from the "Kristina" side of her personality. By the end of the book, Kristina's life is forever altered by the decisions made by her "Bree" personality.

I loved the ending of this book. It feels like it leaves room for a some happiness in the sequel, though with a title like Glass, I'm sure it'll be short-lived. I need a month or two before I can even think about picking up that one!

**This book review counts toward my participation in the Young Adult Reading Challenge and the To Be Read 2010 Challenge. Thanks to both challenges for getting me to read this book!

Book Review: Shiver

As I read Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, the temperature outside shrank to the single digits. So, I kept the wood stove burning and curled up under some quilts and read Shiver in one night. It was perfect.

So here's my synopsis of Shiver. Grace is obsessed with wolves. She lives in Minnesota, where (apparently) wolves are an every day sight. When she was young, she was attacked by a pack of wolves while playing in her backyard. Amazingly, one wolf stopped the pack from killing her and brought her to safety. Grace develops a love for this wolf because he hangs out around her house for the next six years, watching her from a distance. As it turns out, her wolf is actually a werewolf. Grace finally meets her wolf in human form when he changes during the late fall of her senior year of high school. Now, Grace and her werewolf, Sam, need to spend as much time together as possible before he changes back to being a wolf forever.

I loved this book. Sure, I thought that there were some holes to the story and a ton of loose ends, but there's a sequel called Linger that's coming out in July. I feel like Stiefvater has a lot to explain in the next book, and I bet she will. Reading this book reminded me of my first reading of Twilight. I know that some of you are not huge fans of the Twight series, so you may be happy to read that I felt like Shiver does a lot that Twilight does not.

Here's what Shiver has over Twilight:

-Grace, the female lead, is smart and strong and capable. Not so true of Isabelle in Twilight.

-Grace has solutions and answers to problems and actually saves the male lead a million times over the course of the book, rather than him saving her.

-The book is narrated equally from the perspective of Grace and Sam (the werewolf).

-I actually liked that the book was less than 400 pages, versus the 500-800 page range of the books in the Twlight series.

-I loved the inclusion of the temperatures to start each chapter. It definitely focused my reading experience and gave me some anxiety. Nice touch.

-Both Twilight and Shiver allude to other writers. In Twilight, there are allusions to Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, and to Pride and Prejudice. For me, some of these allusions felt a little too contrived and even corny at times. Shiver, though, has turned me on to Rainer Maria Rilke. I've read some limited selections of his poetry before, but now I am ordering his entire collection. Steifvater includes lines from Rilke's poetry in a subtle, seamless way that made me want more, whereas I caught myself rolling my eyes at the allusions in Twilight.

So, I now have added Linger to my amazon wishlist. I've read the plot description and cannot wait to read the actual story. I am hooked.

**This book review counts toward my participation in the Young Adult Reading Challenge and the To Be Read 2010 Challenge. Both are worthy causes!

Beware the Ides of March Madness: Let the Bard Battles Begin!

I love, love, love reading Shakespeare. I also love entering into the March Madness bracket pool at work every year. Two loves, but once HUGE difference. Whereas I know nothing about college basketball and choose winners based on ill-informed hunches every year, I am familiar with the Bard. We go way back. We're tight.

So, when I heard about the Battle of the Bards, which looks like the March Madness bracket thing at which I fail miserably at every year, I knew I had to do it. I entered the challenge and can't wait to see how I do! I'll let you know how I'm fairing each week! Here's what the bracket chart looks like:
If you'd like to join, just link up with the challenge at Padfoot and Prongs and send them email with your picks!

Book Review: The Graveyard Book

As part of the Chain Reading Challenge and the Young Adult Reading Challenge, I've been extremely busy catching up with all kinds of great YA reads that I've sort of put off. Every time I read a book that has been sitting on my To Be Read shelf, I wonder why it took me so long to read such great stuff. I guess that I have all kinds of biases against books. Here's why I think it took me way too long to read Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book:

1. It won the Newbery Medal. I used to look for Newbery winners when I was in grade school. Not so much anymore that I've moved on to reading YA Lot. But, this read is definitely a great YA pick. I mean, it starts with three murders by a serial killer. That's YA for sure!

2. The cover is ugly. I'm sorry. It is. But I loved the drawings included in the text and wished there were more. Go figure!

3. The description of the book on the inside cover is pretty lame. There's way more interesting stuff that happens in this book than the inside cover would lead me to believe. I don't know why, but I was not 'hooked' by the short description. Maybe I'll write a new one. Hm.

So there's why it took me several months to pick up this title. Here's what I loved about it once I finally read it:

1. It was magical. But it was creepy, too. It was kinda like watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Fun and cool at first glance, but really dark and deep and crazy the more that you think about it. I like that sorta stuff.

2. I loved the cast. The main character, Nobody Owens, grows up in a graveyard filled with kind, funny, silly, loving spooks. They aren't alive anymore, but they are a funny little community and love Bod (Nobody's nickname) to death. Pun. Ha! Seriously, some of their little spats and gatherings made me realize that I had better choose my grave plot carefully. I don't want to spend eternity with a bunch of crazies!

3. It was suspenseful and all questions weren't fully answered. I like it when a book leaves off in a way that lets me create my own ending. I don't really like it when all of the loose ends are tied up so completely that there's no room for my input into the character's future. I've had a good time imaging what becomes of Bod and some of the other characters.

So, I read this book because it had been staring at me from my To Be Read shelf for many months. With this read, I have relieved myself of some serious not-yet-read book guilt and I've continued my chain in the Chain Reading Challenge. I'll explain that connection in another post.

Book Review: Chess Rumble

Though G. Neri's graphic novella Chess Rumble resembles a children's book, there is nothing childish about it. Middle school student Marcus is in trouble. Not just for the fights he's getting in, but because his dad has basically abandoned the family, his little sister just died, and his mother is overwhelmed with taking care of her remaining three children. Luckily, Markus has a teacher who cares about him and who wants to see him stay out of trouble. She hooks him up with "CM", a one-time criminal who's turned his life around and who's teaching boys to play chess in hopes that they'll stay out of trouble.

G. Neri's writing poetry packs a powerful punch. With lines like "In my hood/ battles is fought every day", Neri makes the link between street life and the game of chess obvious. CM tells Markus that the game of chess is not played thinking about the move that you're making now, but the ones that you'll want to make in the future. Otherwise, in life and in chess, shortsighted thinking and motivations will cause you to be vulnerable. With this metaphor in place, the message to teen boys is clear: you need to think ahead before you move.

On My Wishlist: Some Girls Are

Each week, I'll profile a book that I have on my wishlist. (This list is many, many miles long and I add to it weekly, if not daily, so there's no chance I'll run out of titles to talk about any time soon!) I decided the other day that it might be nice to start a sort of weekly column where I can talk about books that I want to read, rather than just talk about ones I've already read. Hopefully, kind readers of this blog will then give thumbs-ups or thumbs-downs (sounds weird) to reads and let me know where I should spend my (little its) of money.

My first pick from my amazon wishlist is Some Girls Are by Courtney Summer. There is a FREE GIVEAWAY for this book on the ultra-cool site The Book Jacket. So, you can enter to win and let me borrow this book if you win it and read it and like it!

So. I placed this book on my amazon wishlist on December 17, 2009. I love that you can look back and see exactly how long something has been on your wishlist; sometimes I'll buy a book only to save it from having been on my wishlist for two or three years! Anyway, I found this title through the little suggestion bar thingy that pops up after you've placed a book in your shopping cart. I always check out the suggested titles because I've found so many great ones that way.

What appealed to me about this novel? Well, the cover is pretty awesome. Also, the book has a 5 Star rating on amazon. This is a promising sign. In reading reviews and the synopsis of the book, it reminded me of some that we've read in our Chick Lit Book Club here at school. It's apparently about a teen girl who is being chewed up by the rumor mill at school. She is crushed under the weight of these rumors, but it seems that she has been guilty of spreading rumors in the past.

I am intrigued to find out more about the main character, Regina's, story. It's described on amazon by one reader as being "dark and intense". Those of you who know me know that this is my forte. I love gritty, real, disturbing YA Lit!

I hope to read this book soon and see if it'd be a good one for the Chick Lit Book Club or possibly as a lit circle pick. If you have a chance to read it, let me know what you think!

Book Review: Guardian

At first glance, Julius Lester's novel Guardian looks to be a little on the slim side. But, its cover is striking and so is its storyline. After reading reading it cover to cover in about an hour and a half, I was happy that it was not longer because this story was so painfully accurate and sorrow-filled.

Guardian is the story of an unlikely and unpopular friendship. Ansel is white and Willie Jr. is black. The story takes place in a small Southern town called Davis in 1946. There is little tolerance, if any, for interracial teen friendships in this small town.

Despite the fact that no one in town smiles on these two boys, they are able to spent time together and they even share their deepest dreams. Both are afraid that they'll end up stuck in Davis and end up just like their parents.

What these teen boys cannot know is just how vulnerable they are to the racist culture they live in. I don't want to give away too much of this powerful story, but I will say that Lester does not clean up nasty racist language or the types of vigilante justice that would've been used during this time period or the horrific ways in which whites treated blacks.

So, when a white teen girl is raped and murdered, the readily agree to lynch an innocent black man rather than accusing the real murderer, who happens to be the son of the town's most powerful resident. It is painful to read the pages where the lynching takes place, but given the chart at the end of the novel, lynching was a fairly common practice in many of our United States.

The message that I'm going to take away from this book is that we need to make sure that we speak up for those who cannot. I know that the white characters in this book would've risked their lives if they had stood up to the lynching mob, but I don't know how they could live with their decision to turn and look the other way. I'm not saying that I would've been a hero in this story, but this book serves to remind me that I know that I need to speak up for what's right.

Book to Movie: The Lovely Bones

I love, love, love it when books are made into movies. I hear a lot of people complaining that the movie never lives up to what they had pictured. For me, it's kinda like I get to see the choices a director has to make in the process of changing the written work into a series of images. I love to think about why a particular scene or thread was deleted and others made more prominent. I love to think about how seemingly small adaptations in the script can change the entire meaning or message of a story.

So, when I heard that The Lovely Bones by Alice Seabold was coming out in theaters, I was thrilled. I had read this book when it first came out and have been passing it on to students ever since. I've had all kinds of female students who've absolutely loved the unique structure of this book. There's also a bit of a mystery in this book. The mystery is not who killed the main character, Susie, but whether or not anyone on Earth will ever figure out who her killer is.

This story takes place in the 1970's, a time when people were seemingly much more trusting of one another than they are now. No one living in Susie's neighborhood would have expected that a serial killer lived among them. Sure, they knew that the single guy who lived alone and made doll houses for a living was a little weird. So, when Susie disappeared no one (except Susie's Dad) looked to George Harvey as a suspect.

My hope for the movie is that it captures the beauty of Susie's heaven and that the father/ daughter relationship is developed and real-feeling. I love my father tremendously, and can't imagine what it would be like to be killed and watch him trying to solve my murder. I'm a little scared (mostly from the previews of this film) that the father will seem a little corny.

This movie comes out soon, so if you haven't read this book yet, you totally should. I've been rereading it and have been just as engaged as when I first read it several years ago. Even if the movie does not live up to the book, the book is still an intriguing, imaginative story. You won't regret reading it!

Book Review: Because I Am Furniture

I love novels written in verse. There is something so powerful about taking away all of the extra images and descriptions and dialogue and having the spare beauty of a few select lines to create a vision of a story. Sometimes, I find these books even more powerful than some prose novels because there's no escape from the heavy issues the characters are grappling with. Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas is no exception.

In this story, Anke feels like no one sees her. Her father is extremely abusive to her two older siblings, but pays no attention to her. Whenever her father starts to get angry, she melts away into her hiding spots so that he won't see her. It works. She is not noticed at school. She blends in with the crowd and does nothing to stand out.

This is her life until she joins the volleyball team at her school. She practices and listens to her coach and gets better and starts to feel more confident. All the while, though, her home life is horrendous and every night brings new bruises and scars for her older siblings. Thalia starts to think that maybe she needs to step out of her hiding place for the sake of her brother and sister. But, her father is a powerful man and she's not sure if she has enough will to change her family's pattern of abuse.

This is an excellent read, though it's super emotional. There were parts that almost had me crying and there were some that had me cheering out loud. It is a quick read because it's written in verse. If you're interested in learning more about the effects of abuse on teens, this is a great place to start.

**This book counts towards the Young Adult Reading Challenge 2010

What's In A Name Challenge

Okay, okay. I promise that this is the final challenge that I'll sign up to complete before the end of 2010. Well, that's kinda like having one oreo or a couple potato chips. It might be impossible. We'll see.

Anyway, this challenge is great because it'll fit in with challenges that I already have going. It's called the What's In A Name? Challenge and it sounds pretty awesome. For this challenge, I'll need to read books with titles that fit the following categories:

Body of Water
Place Name

I've not yet chosen all of the titles I'll use for each of the categories. I feel liked I've planned out a bit too much of my reading for the next year. I'd like to leave something open for a random bookstore shopping spree! Here's what I have so far, though these may change:

Food: The Bite of the Mango or A Mango-Shaped Place or Gym Candy
Body of Water
Title: King Dork
Place Name: Alabama Moon or Jerk, California

Three Challenges, One Powerful Book

As some of you know, I've decided to participate in a few reading challenges this year. One is called The Chain Reading Challenge, where I need to read one book and connect it to another and so on. After reading Markus Zusak's The Book Thief as my first title for this challenge, I needed to find a book that had some sort of connection to Zusak's book. I didn't want to simply read another Holocaust lit title, and Karin at The Book Jacket had suggested some possible threads I could follow. I decided to take up one of her ideas, which was to read about another orphan.

I've had Ashley Rhodes Courter's memoir Three Little Words sitting on my To Be Read shelf for some time now. I've wanted to read it, but always had some reason or another to put it off. Though Ashley was not an orphan, she was in foster care for much of her childhood. During her time in Florida's foster care program, she was subjected to abuse and neglect from foster parents and case managers. She is like the main character in The Book Thief in that she finds a home with caring parents, but she has to wait many years and is moved multiple times in this process.

This is a disturbing book because it is true. The Book Thief has lots of disturbing themes and images, but the plot is fictionalized. Three Little Words exposes the inadequacies and the outright negligence of the foster care system. Had Ashley had competent, caring case managers, she may not have had to endure the pain and unease that was her childhood. She never knew when she was going to be moved to another placement, or if she was ever going to see her mother again. She was often unable to take any of her possessions with her when she was moved. Most of the time, adults in her life gave no explanation at all as to where she was going and why she was being moved. Whenever she tried to advocate for herself, she was not listened to or called a liar.

This was an eye-opening book for me to read. I've worked with several students who were foster children or who were adopted. I feel like reading this book has given me some insight into the life of a child who is unsure that he or she will ever have a home. I definitely learned a lot from this book would recommend it to anyone who's interested in learning more about foster care. This book is available for check out at the back of the room.

**Also counts toward my participation in the To Be Read 2010 Challenge and the 2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge.

Young Adult Book Reading Challenge 2010

Visit this site to see the details of the 2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge.

I think you can do it! Let's see if you can install this badge on your blog page and keep up with this contest!

Here is the list of the Young Adult novels that I plan to read this year. Some of the titles will overlap with the To Be Read Challenge that I'm participating in this year. Here are 75 YA titles I hope to read:

1. Crank by Ellen Hopkins
2. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer (review)
3. Andromeda Klein by Frank Portman
4. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
5. We Were Here by Matt de la Pena
6. Shiver by Maggie Stifvater
7. Hunger by Michael Grant
8. Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter (review)
9. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
10. Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah
11. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
12. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
13. The Keeping Corner by Kashmira Sheth
14. Tyrell by Coe Booth
15. Game by Walter Dean Myers
16. King Dork by Frank Portman
17. What I Was by Meg Rosoff
18. Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
19. How To Build A House by Dana Reinhardt
20. Ball Don't Lie by Matt de la Pena
21. Bleed by Laurie Faria Stolarz
22. Peak by Roland Smith
23. Alabama Moon by Wyatt Key
24. Jerk, California by Jonathan Friesen
25. No Right Turn by Terry Truman
26. Keeper by Mal Peet
27. Playing With Matches by Brian Katcher
28. Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-Year-Old GI by Ryan Smithson
29. If I Grow Up by Todd Strasser
30. Tamar by Mal Peet
31. The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking Series #1) by Patrick Ness
32. Gym Candy by Carl Deuker
33. Dope Sick by Walter Dean Myers
34. Chess Rumble by G. Neri
35. The Brooklyn Nine by Alan Gratz
36. After by Amy Efaw
37. Purple Heart Patricia McCormick
38. Raven Summer David Almond
39. The Boy Who Dared Susan Campbell Bartoletti
40. Guardian Julius Lester
41. Hate List by Jennifer Brown
42. Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas (review)
43. Today I Will: A Year of Quotes, Notes, and Promises to Myself by Jerry & Eileen Spinelli (review)
44. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
We Are the Weather Makers: The History of Climate Change by Tim Flannery & Sall Walker
46. Hanging Woods by Scott Loring Sanders
47. Response Paul Volponi
48. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William Kamkwamba & Bryan Mealer
49. Marcello in the Real World by Fransisco Stork
50. Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles
51. Jumped by Rita Williams-Garcia
52. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
53. The Orange Houses by Paul Griffin
54. The Eternal Smile: Three Stories by Derek Kirk Kim
55. The next book in the Hunger Games series, whatever it is!
56. Peak by Roland Smith
57. Snakehead by Anthony Horowitz
58. Bucking the Sarge by Christopher Paul Curtis
59. A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass
60. Deadline by Chris Crutcher
61. Paranoid Park by Blake Nelson
62. Rules of the Road by Joan Bauer
63. The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
64. The Killer's Cousin by Nancy Werlin
65. Locked Inside by Nancy Werlin
66. Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances by John Green, Lauren Myracle & Maureen Johnson
67. All Things Unquiet by Anna Jarzab
68. Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
69. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
70. Hold Still by Nina LaCour
71. This is What I Want to Tell You by Heather Duffy-Stone
Beautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl, Kami Garcia
73. The Bite of the Mango
by Mariatu Kamara
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
75. Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Adjusting the Buckle

After this holiday season, I have realized that I am outgrowing my current blog space. I have two main blogs that I use on a regular basis. One is for my students and the others is for fellow teachers. After entering several reading challenges, I've realized that neither of those forums are what I need when it comes to reviewing Young Adult Lit. So, I'm creating a new blog that's going to be devoted to what I'm reading, what I think about what I'm reading, and whatever I think of putting in this space related to YA Lit.

So, over the next couple of weeks, I'll be transferring some of the reviews I've already written for other blogs here and entering new posts. Hopefully, this new space will help to keep me more organized and creative when it comes to my blogging about books!