We are back in the swing of things here at ACMS and I am so excited to share some of what I have been reading lately. I have had the opportunity to read a mix of some upcoming titles as well as some that have been on my list for awhile, so let's get to it!
Deep Water by Watt Key
I was so excited to read this one. I have been thinking about picking it up for awhile, especially since his books are pretty popular with my middle school readers. Adventure books aren't my go-to, but I always end up enjoying his. This one was a fast-paced story about a scuba diving excursion gone wrong. The boat leaves the divers behind and they have to try to survive in the Gulf waters. Highly recommend.
Here are the books I am hoping to get to this week:
Resistance by Jennifer Nielsen
This is one that I have had on my radar for awhile and Scholastic sent me a copy in my Book Fair Preview Pack. All of her books are INCREDIBLY popular with my students, and they also love historical fiction, so I'm sure this will be a big hit. Looking forward to reading it, as soon as I can get it back from my husband. He saw it on the counter and snatched it up late Sunday night. Sigh.
Hidden Pieces by Paula Stokes
I got a copy of this on EdelweissPlus and am excited to read it. I am hoping for a good mystery/thriller. At this time, I'm only a chapter in, so I don't know fully what to expect.
What about you? What have you been reading lately? Leave me a comment to let me know what to pick up or add to my list. I'm excited to get back into the groove this school year. Happy Monday!
How is it already another Monday? And the last day of April? I actually started writing out plans for summer staff development emails and scheduling today. AAGGHH!
So, with that in mind, I did get some reading done, but I am also in the midst of trying to wrap up things here and prepare for our first "end of year" in this library. So many things to consider: checkouts, overdues, summer hours (a first for our staff), staff book bags, prep for the summer PD, prep for the new teacher days, inventory . . . you get the idea. But, I did read some good ones and have some May reads that I am VERY excited about.
OK-I read Wish because it is a Golden Sower Nominee for next year. Overall, it was a sweet, somewhat predictable early Middle Grade book about a girl who is forced to live with extended family while her parents deal with their struggles. She wants to have a family desperately, and tries to find her place in this backward town with hillbillies. While there she catches a stray dog and learns what it means to be a friend.
I read Little Fires Everywhere for my adult book club. It was also "JUST OK." I had heard so many people raving about it that I had some pretty high expectations. In the end, the story was good, but the plot pace and the sense that it was more of a "thinker" than a story with twists and turns, left me wanting more.
But the absolute BEST thing about my week was the fact that my library's copy of Ghost Boys came in. I grabbed it off the "to be processed" cart and squirreled it away to read that night. Folks, let me tell you, it was EVERYTHING I wanted it to be. It more than met my expectations. Read it and then hand it to everyone you know.
Coming Up Next:
I am just starting Time Bomb right now. I love the premise, but am a bit worried; when I first put it on my TBR list, I saw a review that mentioned the reader didn't like how the Muslim character was portrayed (the book is about a bomb that goes off at a school). Other reviews put it as a great thriller for teens. I'll be sure to post my review when I get done. The other two are ones that have been on my radar for awhile: An American Marriage is my next read for book club and Nyxia Unleashed is my most recent eARC for review.
What about you? Read anything great lately? I am getting ready to submit my final order for the year-any "must reads" I need to be sure to add?
Well it has been a while since I posted one of these, but I have done some reading lately and wanted to share some book love. So, without any further ado, here is my current reading life.
OK, so these were some of my recent favorites from my reading lists.
First up, Restore Me the 4th book in the Shatter Me series. I love, love, love these books. I BINGED the first three last year and couldn't believe my luck when I found out there was going to be an extension to that trilogy. Let me tell you, this book more than lives up to the first three. There are twists, turns, and some VERY unexpected outcomes. Highly recommend.
Next, Truly Devious is a mystery thriller that I was so excited to read. I have a student population who thrives on mysteries and I am always looking for more to add to my collection. This one fit the bill. It works for both upper Middle Grade readers AND YA readers. There are two storylines/mysteries and the ending is a huge cliffhanger. Again, highly recommend.
Third, I read Nyxia, book one in a science fiction trilogy. Think dystopian stories, but now set in space. A group of teenagers from all over Earth have been chosen to compete for the right to travel to a new planet where they will mine a unique substance for a billion dollar company. Of course, what they don't know is how intense the competition will get. Or what exactly the company wants to do with the product. I heard about this book from the amazing @bookfin on Twitter and am so glad I picked it up to add to my collection.
Finally, I was lucky enough to score an eARC of Puddin' by Julie Murphy. This companion to the amazing novel Dumplin' was so good. If you are looking for realistic fiction, that has a strong female cast, with some chill contemporary YA vibes, this is for you. I love Murphy's writing style, her characters, and their voices. They are all people I want to know and I am so glad I got to read more from them.
Working On/Up Next
Right now I am in the middle of Threads by Ami Polonsky. When I picked it up, I didn't realize this was the same author as Gracefully Grayson, which I also loved. This is the story of two girls, one in the states dealing with the recent death of her sister, and one in China who is trapped working in a factory and trying to get help. Their stories intersect. I'm not done yet, but I'm excited to see how it all turns out. This is a quick read that would be perfect for middle grade readers who like dramatic realistic fiction.
Next I am going to read Devils Unto Dust & The Bird and the Blade, two eARCS that I got for review from Edelweiss. I'm looking forward to them and will update with reviews soon.
It has been a while since I posted one of these, but I have been reading a ton. So, here's a quick update on what I've recently finished and what I am working on next:
I just finished eARC copies of both of these books (to be published this Spring) and they were VASTLY different. The Summer of Broken Things by Haddix was a sweet, MG read about two girls who aren't friends but discover they both have a family secret that will connect them in unexpected ways. Perfectly acceptable for middle school students, but a little lackluster in my opinion. Monday's Not Coming by Jackson was OUTSTANDING. After reading this and her debut novel Allegedly, she is on my "must-read" author list. Monday has been friends with Claudia since they started school, and now Monday is missing. But only Claudia seems to be worried about it. This was a stunning look at how kids fall through the cracks, and the pain of losing a friend.
I just started this series after seeing Margot, formerly of Epic Reads, talk about it on her YouTube channel. It is AMAZING, but definitely adult in content and nature. Be warned. I can't wait to get my hands on the rest of the series.
I'm working my way through both of these right now. Devils Within is great, and I'm excited to see where it goes. The Innovator's Mindset is our staff book club Professional Read, so I need to get through it to lend my copy to a coworker.
Has anyone out there read anything FANTASTIC recently that they want to send my way. Even if I am drowning in my TBR stacks, I'm always on the hunt for the next great read. Happy reading all!
Happy Monday! I've been reading some books from my Scholastic Book Fair Preview Pack (here's looking at you Live in Infamy) and trying to catch up on some other middle grade reads.
Current Read: Girl in a Bad Place
This was a book at our fall book fair, and it was fairly popular. I didn't pick it up then, but saw it at my local public library over the weekend and decided to give it a try. I started it last night (during the Super Bowl) and the next thing I knew I was a 100+ pages in. Really good start and interesting premise: Mailee's best friend Cara has been having a hard time lately. So when she wants to go visit The Haven, a compound where people live off the land, Mailee agrees. But now Mailee is worried there is something bad going on, and she needs to try to convince Cara before it's too late.
Recent Reads: I am Alfonso Jones and Overturned
These two VERY DIFFERENT reads were both good in their own ways. I read Overturned because I was hoping to find read-alikes for my students who love the Natural series. This is a good fit; gritty, murder mystery with a feisty main character. Highly recommend. I am Alfonso Jones is a graphic novel that tackles the history of the Black Lives Matter movement. I read this for this month's #yabookchat Twitter chat. It is a good introduction to the topic and does not have any language or sexual content that might be a concern for some collections. Recommend.
One of my goals for this year is to try to follow this hashtag more faithfully and contribute at least on a monthly basis. So, here is my post for January. :)
My next pick in my never ending #TBR is a toss-up between Kindness for Weakness, Thunderhead, and Onyx and Ivory. The first is a recent realistic fiction release. The other two are upcoming releases that I got from Edelweiss (Thunderhead is the sequel to Scythe and the other is a first in an upcoming fantasy series).
If you've read any of these, I'd love to hear which ones you liked. If you have other suggestions for me, especially in regards to female fantasy authors, send me a comment on Twitter (@AmyTasich) or leave a comment below. Happy reading!
This weekend I was able to make some headway on my TBR stack and finish a couple of titles. Some of these were sent to our building as part of a promotional pack for the upcoming Scholastic Book Fair. Others were either recently ordered and delivered for our building or are on their way in an upcoming shipment.
Sara is a young reporter who is trying to find out what happened to her best friend Linda. Like so many other girls, Linda has been abducted. Sara has to believe she is still alive, if only because her body hasn't been dumped like the others. Sara uses her job as a reporter at a local newspaper to write stories on these missing girls, highlighting a different one each week. But now, the threats that were intermittent, focus on her specifically and her family. She is close to the truth, but what will it cost to find it?
Emiliano is Sara's brother. He is in love with Perla Rubi, a girl from his school who is way out of his league. Her family has more money that he could ever hope to have. But now, a random connection from his side jobs offers him a way in to her world and Emiliano doesn't know how he can pass it up. This chance will give him a way to get everything he has wanted. The only question is if he will still be able to live with himself if he does it.
This narrative follows these two siblings over the course of a week as they grapple with large moral questions and issues, while also trying to find Linda and survive the political situation in Juarez.
In this follow up to Sunny Side Up, Sunny is dealing with her older brother Dale leaving to go to military school. She is left to wonder what her family is like now that part of it is missing and if they will ever feel normal again. This book is also a look into 1970's lifestyle and pop culture, which is a fun twist.
The following titles were on my radar because other teachers and librarians have been buzzing about them nonstop!
The plot is deceptively simple: every year or so a boat brings a new orphan to the island and the oldest child leaves. Without fail, every year, a new one comes and one leaves. Always nine. Never more for fear the sky will fall, or at least that's what the rhyme says. None of the kids know for sure, and none of them have ever been willing to risk it. But now that Jinny is the Elder, she doesn't want to leave. She doesn't want to trust there is more out there. But what are the consequences to not following the rules?
This book is an allegorical look at growing up, leaving childhood behind, and dealing with the evils and realities of our world. Part Maze Runner , part Lord of the Flies this story would fit seamlessly into a literature course for students grades 6-9.
Red is an old tree and has been a part of the neighborhood for over 200 years. Red is also a wishing tree, meaning every May 1st everyone in the neighborhood brings wishes, ties them on the branches, and then waits and hopes for them to come true. But this year, something is different. The first wish feels like a threat to the new family in town and Red has to decide if it's worth it to break the one cardinal rule of nature: Don't talk to people.
Throughout the events of a few days, Red has to discover if trees need to just accept their unobtrusive lot in life or if meddling will in fact save the day. Not only for the new family in town but for Red itself since Francesca, the owner, is threatening to cut Red down. And actually has tree trimmers on their way.
So, here are a few things I've been reading lately.
Just finished: The Seventh Most Important Thing. SO GOOD.
Goodreads review below.
The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
***This title is a nominee for the 2017-18 Golden Sowers Chapter Book list.***
OK-I loved this book. I didn't really know too much about it before I started it (just that Arthur, the main character was in trouble for throwing a brick at the "Junk Man") but I couldn't put it down. I red it straight through in one sitting. The characters were oh-so-relatable. The story was compelling and interesting (and based on a true guy!). The writing was spectacular. I can't wait to recommend it to others.
Arthur Owens knew he shouldn't have thrown the brick. But when he saw the Junk Man, the guy who is always out going through people's garbage, wearing his deceased dad's hat (after his mom threw it out without telling anyone), something just came over him. And now his punishment is to help the Junk Man out. Something about redemption. Arthur doesn't know what that means, but he knows he'd rather do this than go back to juvie. So he starts working on Junk Man's list of the 7 Most Important Things. And he begins to wonder if he was meant to be doing this all along.
Other recent reads:
All the Answers
Ava finds a blue pencil in the junk drawer and decides to use it on her math test. She always gets SO NERVOUS before tests and she doesn't think this one will be any better. But, during the test, she discovers the pencil KNOWS the answers. All of them. At least the fact-based ones. So she and and her friend Sophie start asking it all sorts of things. But is there ever such a thing as too much information? Do you really want to be able to ask if someone likes you (or doesn't)? Or if your Grandpa really is sick? Ava has to figure out what to do with all of her new knowledge and if she can balance her desire to know everything with the stress of trying to figure it out.
Books that are in my TBR:
Happy Monday ya'll! Here is a current round-up of what I am reading RIGHT NOW:
This is book 2 in the Firebird Series. I read (inhaled) the first book and then took an unexplicable break from the series. I found book 2 through Overdrive on Friday and was happily reading away this weekend. I am just getting started, but this book does a good job of refreshing where we left off. I was grateful for this, but could see how some readers might not appreciate it.
Short synopsis: the Firebird allows for travel between dimensions, where alternate versions of you and the people you know live. Margueritte has to travel to find Paul and stop Triad from exploiting the technology.
I found this book based on a recommendation from folks on Twitter. It is a MG novel that was given as a suggestion when I asked for mysteries. I'm only a chapter in, but so far so good. I haven't been reading much MG lately, and hope this will help to break me out of my slump. I wasn't expecting it to be set so far in the past, but am curious to see how it goes. The MC works in an apothecary and seems to be setting up for some great adventure.
I picked up this book after seeing it on a list of books to read after Thirteen Reasons Why. I found the audio version through Overdrive and it has been a good pick so far, but as I've noticed with other serious/sad pieces, listening to them makes for a much more in depth experience. You can't gloss over the sadness or the hurt like you can when you are physically reading; when you are listening to it, the narrator has total control over your experience. And this one has had some TOUGH moments, and I'm only about a 1/3 of the way through it. Overall, I'd recommend, but with some warnings.
So, there you have it. My current reads. Happy Monday everyone!