It’s back to work tomorrow, and as I reflect on this past summer’s reading (while listening to City of Ashes on my newly renovated patio, a pleasant, steady breeze wafting under the cedar pergola) I feel like I’m saying goodbye to my summer camp friends.
I remember back in June when I loaded up my bags with books that I had been promising myself (and my students) I would finally spend some time with while school was out. I’m so excited to recommend these books to students this year and to chat about my reactions with my regulars who have been hounding me to try them.
Books I read:
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. 5 stars. Lovely, lovely, lovely. This one took some investment and a lot of faith for the first 100 pages. Despite the non-linear plot with dual narrators, I felt a tiny ember take root in my heart after the first few pages for the main character, Taylor, and her entourage in the Australian bush. It’s mysterious, heart-breaking, and ultimately–healing. When recommending to students, be sure to touch base with them frequently in the beginning and support their “wanderings” and wonderings early on.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. 4 stars. Crazy. Creepy. Sinister. This was my indulgence in an adult best-seller with a soon to be released feature film (Ben Affleck and Neil Patrick Harris–perfect casting. I found myself picking up my jaw more than once during this one. Although I did purchase it for my library, I’m thinking that it might find a comfy spot in my office for special recommendations to mature and older teen readers due to several graphic and sometimes violent sexual scenes and situations.
Legend by Marie Lu. 3 stars. I’ve heard this series likened to Hunger Games on several occasions. There were many things I enjoyed about Legend. As a dystopian title for teens, it delivers on pacing, character, plot, and romance. With a male and female narrator, it has wide appeal for teens and a nice gender-neutral cover.
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. 3.5 stars. Also a feature film due out in theaters this week, C of B was a demon-killer book I could get behind. I enjoyed the mix of supernatural creatures (vampires, werewolves, warlocks, demons, and a race of humans descended from Angels). I had to joke with a friend who had read them before after the first 50 pages that I had the story line for the next 3 books down. Predictable? Yes. Even the twist of fate between the star-crossed lovers can be deciphered early on in the first installment.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth. 4.5 stars. I finished this title yesterday during my last day of vacation in Galveston with my family. I can say that it is perhaps the most honest book I’ve read in a while. I’ve wanted to recommend this book with its odyssey of a young girl whose parents are killed in a car accident the day after she kisses a girl for the first time in rural Montana, but I don’t want to sell it as just another LGBT title like I sometimes can when recommending dystopia or fantasy. Cameron Post is so much more. It’s a moral tale on empathy, identity, and friendship.
Book I’m reading (listening to ):
Books to read (before the kids actually start in 9 days!)
Who did you meet this summer in your books? Which characters will stay with you, leaving that lasting and warm impression like the first friend you found at summer camp?