Today, is supposed to mark the first day back from Spring Break at my school and I am supposed to happily reopen my library to books that were read or found over Spring Break and bring my grade 6/7 class down during my teaching time. However, little is as it should be right now, and I am grateful for the amount of normalcy I am blessed to have. Among the normal things that I am able to do is be healthy, exercise and read lots. So, I am happy to be able to post last week’s reading and link up with other bloggers at teachmentortexts.com and unleashingreaders.com. Thanks to our hosts as always (Jen V, Kellee and Ricki).
Books I Enjoyed Last Week
I loved this book! I am grateful to have had the chance to read and review through NetGalley. Admittedly, I was huge fan of Wesley King’s OCDaniel. I shared it widely in my class, school and district and several students and teachers I know have been talking about this book’s arrival for about a year (even through a title change). It was everything we have been waiting for and more. If you haven’t read OCDaniel, of course I recommend it, but I think you could enjoy this book without reading OCDaniel.
This book is the backstory of one of the characters in OCDaniel, so it is a prequel. Both books contain multiple characters that deal with mental illness and readers will see and experience a little of that with them. Wesley King uses some of his own experiences growing up and dealing with mental health issues to show young people dealing with issues that they are not alone, and they should ask for help. Sara and the Search for Normal has this in common with OCDaniel but in this book there is a lot more about dealing with one’s inner voice, and understanding and accepting yourself.
I had high expectations for this one, but I feel like a lot of the questions I (and my students) had about Sara were answered here and there are other parts of the plot where Sara has to show bravery and courage that are amazing as well. This is a great book for those that enjoyed OCDaniel, or have enjoyed other books in which young characters deal with mental health. It works as a stand alone but even better as a companion to OCDaniel. Highly recommended, it will bring up a lot of discussion of very serious and important issues.
One would be justified in thinking I am a little crazy to be reading a book in which a young man loses his three best friends to a car accident right now(this happens early and is on the back cover- no spoiler, I promise). You might be right, but I really loved The Serpent King and I have waited too long to read more Jeff Zentner. I am way late to the party. His writing is so good, and the characters are always so interesting. This book did not disappoint at all, and as the blurb by Nicola Yoon suggests, it is not just “heart breaking”, but has a lot of other feels as well. Choosing this book at this particular time keeps in my pattern of reading more YA when I am off school time.
I enjoyed this recently released MG book. Ali navigates school relationships and changes in her family while dealing with her body’s changes as she becomes a Copycat, a person that can impersonate practically anything. Her family constantly moves from town to town and Ali has a hard time making friends. She is always trying to figure out what other people want her to be. When her family moves to Saint John she finds out many of the family’s secrets regarding relationships between her father and his estranged extended family. Despite some of the serious sounding plot points, this book was fun magical realism, and likely the first book I have ever read that is set in the province of New Brunswick.
I got this book from my bookish friends at Book Portage, our Canadian ARC sharing group. I read the back and went, oops, I can’t read a book inspired by Les Miserables, I really don’t have an idea what its about. (Later, I read two reviews that claimed the same thing- what a relief). However, this book is sensational on its own. Christina Soontornvat has created a world inspired by Thailand but all her own. It’s a book about social control, protest, and standing up for one’s rights.
In this story, two nine year old boys grow up in a prison near Chattana, because that is where their mother’s were when they were born. In Chattana, the Governor creates all light and energy, creating a world that has light out of one that was dark. He is considered a great man for performing this feat of magic and saving the city. However, many still have to go without and in desperate times, they commit crimes that keep them under the control of those with privilege. As the book progresses, many characters on the wrong side of the bridge, and the right side of the bridge, begin to question the legitimacy and motives of the Governor. I really enjoyed the pacing and the characters that were created here.
Ryan Higgins’ Bruce books are so popular at my school it is hard to imagine combining his talent with Elephant and Piggie and the result not being a hit. No worries there, this book is super funny. We start with a tiger who seems petrified of worms and is constantly letting his fear spoil everything. Then, we get the perspectives of worms that show up later and see how much they love our friend Tiger. Kids will giggle at the different views on the same events, and adults might see humour in how tiger blames worms for things that are in his head.
I just started What Stars are Made of, which comes out tomorrow. I am enjoying the main character and getting The Miscalculation of Lightning Girl kind of vibes. I am still reading a chapter or two a day of The Night Diary, for my class project that may not happen (but why not read the excellent books for it anyway and plan for the best), and The Blood of Olympus (a family read aloud).
On Deck Reading
I still have a few ARCs (One Year at Ellsmere by Faith Erin Hicks, Mary Underwater by Shannon Doleski) I would love to get through and then I promised my daughter I would read The Young Elites by Marie Lu (is it for a girl in grade 7? I wonder, so I am reading it first) and I also have The Last Kids on Earth to read too (a book that is so often signed out that I have never actually read it yet).
Have a great reading week, and hope you and yours stay healthy!