I know, I know, it’s eighteen days into December. But good news: I finished my yearly reading goal!
And I couldn’t let a month slip past without giving a shout-out to all the wonderful words that entered my brain in story form. November was a very YA/Middle grade focused month. In fact, I didn’t read a single “adult” book.
Glimpse by Carol Lynch Williams
Another verse book recommended by my editor friend. This one did not make me cry, but it certainly tugged at the heart. It is a story of two sisters, one of whom struggles with mental illness, and it reminded me of Stop Pretending by Sonya Sones. Be warned, there are suicide attempts and abuse, some of which was quite difficult to read. I had a hard time with the mother character, but overall enjoyed the quality of verse and story telling.
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
Oldest read this book with his class, and I had promised him back in the day that anything he was assigned I would also read so that we could discuss it together. We’ve read a few Avi books together – he is an excellent story teller. The book is fast paced and full of girl power adventure. Critics argued that the character shift was not believable, and while my son and I concurred, we both enjoyed watching her go from prim stuck-up to edgy risk-taker. Fans of Treasure Island would enjoy this read.
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
Here is my review from Goodreads: I recently read Walk Two Moons with my oldest son. It was not my first time reading it. Not my second. Not my third. It was probably the 20th time I’ve read this book, and I cry EVERY TIME. It is a beautiful, moving story about family, friendship, loss, and love. And so much more. If you’ve never read it, you should. Read it alone. Read it to your child. Read it to your pet. Just read it. And have tissues handy.
My youngest reported that his teacher was reading WTM during silent reading time, so I mentioned it during conferences. She had never read it before and asked if it would be okay to share with third graders. It’s not (IMO). There are some seriously heavy parts to this book. I used to read it with 7th graders and feel it would be appropriate for 10+.
Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead
I loved When You Reach Me. The “mystery” in this one was a bit more obvious (I had it figured out right away), but it was still a great read aloud with my younger son. We both enjoyed the MC’s voice and the various characters, especially the neighbors with their unique names and personalities.
Stay Where You Are and Then Leave by John Boyne
Another book chosen because I loved the first one I read by the author. In this case, it was The Boy in the Striped Pajamas – a total tear-jerker that left me sobbing in my work parking lot last year. (Note: Read the book over watching the movie. Far superior.) Stay Where You Are and Then Leave is another excellent, beautifully woven war story. It deals with PTSD before it was recognized as a mental illness and taps into the heartache of missing a family member. The audio book version is worth a listen, and again I would recommend it for 10+ due to the issues addressed.
Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff
I listened to this verse book on my phone and worry that not seeing the poems may have altered my appreciation a bit. The story is about a young girl trying to make money for college who takes on a job babysitting for a single mom struggling with poverty. It was good, but after trying a few other verse books in audio format and giving up, I’ve decided it may be better to stick with print.
All The Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg
A verse book about finding out who you are and dealing with demons from your past. Deals with post-Vietnam War adoption in a way that didn’t make me want to throw the book across the room (I can be a bit touchy about adoption in literature). Many of the poems were raw and beautiful. It hasn’t been my favorite verse book, but I’d definitely recommend it.
So far, my December reading has been a bit sparse. But I plan to spend some quality time during the holidays wrapped up with a good book. Happy reading, everyone!