Review of Into the Grey

kiernan_into the grey

Into the Grey by Celine Kiernan Middle School, High School    Candlewick    295 pp. 8/14    978-0-7636-7061-0    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-7636-7409-0    $16.99 When their home burns down, twin teens Patrick and Dominick move with their family to the shabby seaside cottage where they usually spend summer holidays. Almost at once, Pat sees that Dom is being haunted […]

Windows and mirrors book discussion

oct27readings

Lauren had her first adolescent lit class last night at HGSE (Harvard Graduate School of Education). For last night’s class we talked about How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff. I love this part of a course when the students go from names and faces on a roster to real people with opinions about books. […]

Eleanor and Park

rowell_eleanor & park

Rainbow Rowell’s nontraditional romance novel Eleanor and Park portrays a young love that is genuine in its intimacy and awkwardness, as well as the painful realities of life that are well beyond the control of the young protagonists. What are the entry points in the story for readers whose lives are very different from those […]

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie tells Junior’s story with a lot of humor, but pulls no punches in depicting the brutal truths of alcoholism, poverty, and bigotry both on and off the reservation. Does humor have a place in a realistic novel about tragic circumstances? If you’ve had classroom […]

How I Live Now

How I Live Now

At the outset of Meg Rosoff’s How I Live Now, Daisy and her cousins in the English countryside are blissfully removed from the threat of impending war. In some ways, the insular, adult-less world of the young people might exist in any time and place, yet their world is irrevocably changed as the story progresses.  […]

Review of 100 Sideways Miles

smith_100 sideways miles

100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith High School    Simon    277 pp. 9/14    978-1-4424-4495-9    $17.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-4424-4497-3    $10.99 High schooler Finn Easton has unusual scars on his back. Finn’s “emoticons” — so-called because they look like a colon, vertical slash, colon — are the result of a freak accident in which a dead horse […]

The value of re-reading

The Secret of the Wooden Lady (Nancy Drew)

I was recently privy to a conversation that I have participated in countless times in my twenty-plus years in education. It was a version of “The 8th grade teachers are stealing the 9th grade teachers’ books” discussion. You know that one, right? Of course, it does not reside exclusively in the domain of middle or […]

Are you ready for some football…books?

Friday Night Lights

I love the fall. I do not love people asking me, “Hey, how about that [insert-local-football-team] game?” I have nothing against the sport; it’s just not my thing. Working at an all-boys school, though, I am surrounded by a mass of gridiron fans. As stereotypical as it may be, I think any of my coworkers […]

Review of Clariel

nix_clariel

Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen by Garth Nix Middle School, High School    Harper/HarperCollins    383 pp. 10/14    978-0-06-156155-9    $18.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-06-221680-9    $10.99 Six centuries before the events of Sabriel (rev. 1/97), Lirael (rev. 7/01), and Abhorsen (rev. 3/03), circumstances in the Old Kingdom are vastly different: the addled king refuses to rule; the Abhorsen neglects […]

Review of Poisoned Apples

hepperman_poisoned apples

Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann; 
photos by various artists High School    Greenwillow    106 pp. 10/14    978-0-06-228957-5    $17.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-06-228959-9    $9.99 For this poet, there is no dividing line between fairy tales and reality: “You can lose your way anywhere,” claims the poem with which she begins this collection […]