Tag Archives: YAlit

Does love at first sight exist? I would like to hope so!

Summer is here and I am in the process of reading as many books as I can before school starts in September.  This book did not disappoint with its 24 hour love story set in London. Hadley is our main character who we meet as she is stuck in an airport.  You see, her dad is getting remarried and she must fly to London for the event and let’s just say that she is not too excited.  Well, enter Oliver, our young traveler from London who is also getting on the flight.  If you are looking for a charming summer read, I recommend this story!

Wonder defines kindness

R. J. Palacio; Random House Children’s Books 2012
 Kindness is explored in this truly moving debut book by author RJ Palacio.  We are introduced to Auggie, a 5th grade student who feels and acts like a normal 10-year old who is entering middle school after years of homeschooling.  The complication is that Auggie was born with facial abnormalities and has to live in a world where pauses and nervousness, agitation and fear surround him.  How Auggie and his family navigate life and affect those around them inspires me to treasure and teach kindness.  
This book has been recommended for children 8 and up, but I would strongly recommend that it is read by adults as well.  The storyline is beautiful and knows no age limit.
The following book trailer provides a wonderful visual for Wonder.


John Green, YA author and Printz Award winner

A friend recently recommended An Abundance of Katherines by John Green with a disclaimer that it celebrates nerdiness and has footnotes!  Well, how could I not embrace my inner smartypants?  This book is funny and endearing and I absolutely recommend it.  My only caveat is that reading it on an e-reader does not do it justice.  The book contains many footnotes (yes, footnotes in a fiction) and they don’t translate well in electronic form.
So… after my great experience with the quirky characters in  Abundance…, I again took my friend’s advice and read Looking for Alaska, the 2006 recipient of the Printz Award.  This is not a quirky happy book about teens, but instead a deeper and moving look into the life of Miles “Pudge” Halter and his friends.  Set in Culver Creek, Alabama, I felt my temperature rise as the characters navigated the southern heat and life in a boarding school.  I also recommend this book as it navigates the very real fears and concerns of teenagers as well as us all.

WWII historical fiction I never knew

Between shades of gray
Ruta Sepetys.; Philomel Books 2011

A good review can influence my decision to read a book even when life has filled my plate. Last month I read the reviews of Between Shades of Gray by new author Ruta Sepetys.  The story is one of fifteen year old Lina, a Lithuanian girl caught up in Stalin’s desire to eradicate Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.  From its beautiful cover art to telling story about a part of history I could not remember, this book is a must read for students and adults today.

Based on actual events in history, I am a better person for having reminded myself of past wars and the power of survival.


Banned Books Week Sept 24 – Oct 1

Can you name some classic books that have been challenged?

For several years I have been involved in creating banned book displays both at the public library and at the school library and every year I am re-energized to bring some of these “dangerous” books to light.  Books such as The Color Purple, The Catcher in the Rye or The Great Gatsby were wonderful parts of my growing up with literature.  Even my friend Harry Potter is a foe to many with his wizarding ways.  This year I ask you to think about your favorite books and what they have meant to you.  The gift of literature is a wonderful one!

Here is a link to the American Library Association list of banned or challenged classics.


Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

Marjane Satrapi’s story of her childhood in Iran plays out beautifully in this black and white graphic novel. While this book is most likely best suited for a high school reader, adults who question the validity of the comic form would be well served to “read” this book. Media literacy of today includes not only the written word, but images on tv, film and the internet. My knowledge of Iran circa 1980 was slim and I am a better person for experiencing this tale.


Possibly the best YA book ever….

I am well aware that there are many wonderful and compelling books that one can read, but stay with me on this one.  Monster by Walter Dean Myers is truly a masterpiece that has stayed with me for months now.  I have to re-read it for a class and am looking forward to learning more about our narrator, Steve Harmon, and his story.  Written as a screenplay and starring the narrator, Steve Harmon, the reader is taken through a boy’s time in jail and the court system in NYC.  What moved me was the way in which Walter Dean Myers challenges your assumptions of guilt and innocence and leads you to a place without providing you all of the answers.


Nine Lives of Chloe King

If you are tired of vampires and need a fun summer read, then try Nine Lives of Chloe King by Liz Braswell.  The story of 16 year old Chloe King is told over a trilogy of books starting with The Fallen and followed up by The Stolen and The Chosen.  If you just love to debate the merits of books and adaptations, then check out ABC Family’s television show by the same name.