It’s Monday! – Here’s what I’ve been reading the past week…
Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee
When I started reading this book, I was unsure if it was going to be one that I enjoyed. Normally I don’t choose books that deal with wizardry and such topics. However, once I got going, I loved the story! The characters were easy to relate to, and I couldn’t put the book down. I hadn’t planned on staying up late to read, but I read it start to finish in one sitting. With each turn of the page, I wanted to know whether or not Ophelia was successful with her quest to free the Marvelous Boy. I would DEFINITELY recommend this book to my students.
Dear Life, You Suck by Scott Blagden
So…. Normally I don’t enjoy books that contain profanity, but this would definitely be the exception. Cricket Cherpin (and yes… this is him real name), is a 17-year old teen that has lived in a Catholic orphanage for the past eight years since the death of his little brother. No other boy has lived there that long and he is the only teen residing there. Cricket is constantly standing up for his young “brothers” against bullies at school, and he tells them creative stories that he makes up after dinner. Memories from his past haunt him and make him very negative about what life has to offer. His constant funny analogies of life actually made me laugh out loud at points in the story. (And I am a fairly stoic person in general.)
Now… I decided to look up other reviews about this author’s first book as rereading mine doesn’t seem to do the book justice… at all…. Here is my favorite that I feel sums up the book much better than I did.
“Dear story, you rock.
Seventeen-year-old Cricket Cherpin (yes, his real name) has lived in a Catholic orphanage in Maine since he was 8 and his little brother died. He has a deep facial scar, the legacy of a prostitute mother and a drug-dealing father, and he hides an even deeper, internal scar through constant fighting and irreverence for authority (he’s not afraid to tell it like it is), religion (he hates Jesus), language (f-bombs land) and sex (he thinks about it a lot). Although Cricket is deemed a bully, his punches keep younger boys and school nerds safe. In this debut, his first-person narration, loaded with biting sarcasm and never-ending nicknames for his oppressors, reveals the push and pull of his soul. Cricket loves old movies, feels comfortable with his feminine side and relishes telling stories to the younger orphans, yet emotions surrounding a potential romance, guilt over his brother’s death and an uncertain future make him ready to jump off the local cliffs. While a slow build of hints to Cricket’s past helps explain his current state, a sudden chain of events forces him to confront his violence, relationships and the direction of his life.”
Only fellow classic-movie and -television buffs will understand all of the teen’s references, but all readers will appreciate Cricket’s complex, lovable character and the strong adults who nourish it.(Fiction. 14 & up)”
I worked for years with students that suffered from emotional disabilities due to trauma they experienced while being raised in “tough” households. This book was an eye-opening view of how these teens sometimes feel.
DEFINITELY RECOMMEND!!!!! However, this book is definitely more suited for older teens due to the strong language and content of the material.
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! Need I say more? I had heard that Sarah Dessen’s books were good, but I thought this one was fabulous! My daughter just finished reading Just Listen, and I will work on tackling that one on our long trip to Kansas next week. She will definitely be one that I will keep in my sights for future down time. It was one of those books where I lost track of time. When I got done reading, I couldn’t believe that it was almost 11 p.m. Getting lost in a story is amazing…
Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
Bryce and Julianna are two eighth grade students that have been neighbors for years. Juli has literally been driving Bryce nuts since he moved into the neighborhood right before second grade. After years of avoidance, Bryce starts to see Juli in a different light. Part of this change stems from tensions in his own home and finally seeing his father for who he truly was on the inside. Van Draanen wrote the story by alternating narrators with Bryce and Juli taking turns telling the story from their personal perspective. I feel as though this is a story that would keep my students’ interest as it flows very easily from one subject to the next while making the reader want to know what will happen next.
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
When I originally picked this book, I wondered how a story that only had one character living on an island could really have enough information to hold my attention. Once starting the book though, I was immediately hooked. O’Dell did a wonderful job of describing her surroundings in a way that kept me intrigued and wanting to know what happened next. This is a beautifully written story, and it is no wonder that it received the Newberry Award.