Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Boyfriend list!!

This book really got me thinking.....

-Joshua (But he was more of a friend)

-Kyle (But that was just because I was bored)

- James (But he was really mean)

- Jason

- Jimmy

This book tells the story of young Ruby Oliver who begins to suffer from panic attacks, so her overzealous parents make her go see a shrink, Dr. Z. After talking to Ruby the shrink realizes a pattern; her attacks are all revolved around boys. Dr. Z suggests she write a list of all the boys she has ever liked. Roo does and then makes the biggest mistake of her life; throws it in the trash. The list gets out and Roo is in a big mess because of the information that all of her classmates now know.

This first person novel is an excellent one for young teens. It deals with issues all of us has been through or are terrified of experiencing. Losing your best friend, being lonely, and having a BAD social life. At times you really feel bad for Roo, she is in an unfortunate situation. I sat back and thought about what a predicament I would be in if I wrote out a list of boys who I had a crush on or ever secretly dated. This would be DETRIMENTAL to my social life. This is one of the major things that got me involved in this book. I had to know how it ended.

During my book talk the main thing I wanted to get across was a connection for boys to the book. I opened with having the students think about their personal boyfriend list and what people would think if the list got out. I found it was a very useful tactic because a few boys in the class said this got them interested in reading the book!

Who would be on your list?????

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Disclaimer: I have read MANY Harry Potter novels by J.K Rowling and feel like this is the definition of fantasy literature. However I do not feel I would go so far as to call myself a "fan" of this genre.

This book was a very different read for me. I really like the approach Cashore took to this story, a young girl who is the protector of the KING. (Nice message to young females who are not so much in to make up but more into sports.) I think the book took a much different approach to the gender lenses than all the other novels we have read this semester. Katsa is a strong girl who has an ability to kill in a magnificent way. I think she is strong in this way yet she is just like any other teenage girl. She meets and eventually falls for a Po, a young prince. I really enjoyed reading about these two characters lives. Po, unlike her uncle, allowed Katsa to be herself. This is a fantasy novel with beautiful details of scenery.

I think teen girls can take a lot way from this book. Katsa strength and strong will made me want her to be victorious in all her endeavors. The development of this character is phenomenal Cashore does an excellent job.

As I stated before I am not a big lover of fantasy novels. After reading this book I would have to say I could understand why other love this genre.

Considering this is one of the first fantasy novels I have ever read cover to cover and it trickled some sort of "likness" in me I decided to browse over other fantasy novel titles to see if there were any others that looked like they could grab AND KEEP my attention. If you LOVE fantasy or if your like me and want to know more simply click here!!

We Were Here

This novel is…an interesting one. It really bothers me that during the discussion some students made statements that implied they would not teach this book because students most likely could not relate to it, or the demographics of the characters pushed them away from the novel. I think if that is the case then you as a teacher would constantly be teaching your students the same kind of material, and that is cause for a biased world.

This book tells the story of Miguel. He is a Mexican-American teenager who has been put in a home for juvenile delinquents. It tells the story through his eyes. (Which I really liked because I felt more connected to him.) It is up to the interpretation of the reader if they believe Miguel is a good or bad person. I struggled with this book at first because of the language but

eventually got used to it. I really enjoyed reading this book. It, unlike a lot of YA titles, was not so predictable. We don’t know upfront why Miguel has been sent to the home but we do know that his mother resents him for it. I was so extremely anxious to find out what his foul deed was I found myself peeking ahead in the book.

Miguel comes across some…I will use interesting, for lack of a better word, characters on his journey. Rondell, an African American teen that Miguel believes is dumb as the come. Also Mong, an Asian teenager who Miguel can’t figure out. These three boys, having nothing in common, form a special kind of bond; a brotherhood. It is very amazing to see the things they go through and how they each handle the situation in different ways.

I really like the book and felt that it should have been a reading that was not characterized as “unheard voices” but as teen struggle or teens finding themselves (self-reflection). I think when you read a book like this after reading books about teens ALL from mainstream society it is inevitable race will be a main topic of conversation. For this reason, as well as MANY others, I wish this book could have been integrated into the course without the title of the unit being something specifically about race.

....Octavian Nothing....

This story was written with YA readers in mind. It tells the story of a young boy, Octavian. Not much is known about him at the beginning of the novel. We know he lives with his mother in a house with a lot of men. These men, unlike him and his mother, do not have names they go by numbers. We find out that the men are philosophers and they are training Octavian. He is used as an experiment to see if the African race and the European race is equal, or is one better than the other.

Upon first reading this novel I did not feel it was for YA readers. After a class discussion I feel like that would be underestimating all young adult readers. The writing style in this book is very different from all the other books discussed in this blog. It is more sophisticated. It takes a while, maybe 50 or 60 pages, to become accustomed to the writing style of MT Anderson. The issues raised in this book are somewhat different than other YA books. This book tackles issues like race. It may get YA readers thinking about how they feel about their own race.

I feel like the only reason this book is classified as YA is because the main character is a young man. If it had been an adult this book could have easily gone with adult literature. The most important thing in this novel is to make sure you discuss it in your class.

If I had to recommend this book to a particular group, it would be seniors in an AP literature class. This book could be easy to get into if you are able to discuss why things are happening, and the significance of some events that take place in the book.

My Friend Frankie Landau-Banks

Frankie Landau-Banks this story is about a girl who makes a typical transformation, or what most teenage girls wish was a typical transformation. As a freshman she is a geeky girl barley noticed by her classmates except through her senior sister Zada. She comes back as a sophomore with a new and improved figure, which catches the eye of Matthew Livingston, the hottest senior in her school.

The novels protagonist is somewhat of a role model for teen girls. She fights for her independence when it comes to her mother and she knows that she does not want to be the kind of girlfriend who looses herself when she gets a boyfriend. However, weather she is doing it to get what she wants, or has taken this step, is not obvious to us as a reader. The real role model in the book is Zada, Frankie’s sister. Zada is there every time Frankie wants to talk about Matthew to remind her that she should not let him take over her life and when he is gone life will go on.

I think teen girls can relate to Frankie if they know it or not. I know thinking about my years in high school I found many parallels between me and the protagonist of this story. Feeling as if you are so into your boyfriend and he is the only person that can make you happy; wanting to do any and everything you can to make him happy! (Sounds sad but its the cold hard truth!)

The book centers on a secret club that is “boys only” and this drives Frankie insane. So insane she makes it her mission to join this club. Once she sees that membership is highly unlikely she decides to take over. Now that she has become the mastermind behind the club and its pranks, unknowing to the boys because it is all done via e-mail, she thinks she could get respect from Matthew.

The thing that I really liked about this book is the third person narrative. Usually with third person the story is told in an unbiased way. However in this story the narrator is very compassionate when it comes to Frankie.

I think this book might be to “girle” for upperclassmen, especially boys. I would recommend this book to a freshmen class because I feel like, they, more than anyone would be able to either relate to it, or discuss how much they are not like Frankie.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

! ! ! ! THE HUNGER GAMES ! ! ! ! !

This well written novel by Suzanne Collins is definitely a page turner. It has been so long since I read a book and got the feeling that I got after reading this book. It takes place in a sort of futuristic society. After much rebellion and a some natural disaster the new world, Panem, is all that is left. Panem is divided into 12 districts and some are better off then others in terms of wealth. Our protagonist lives in one of the worst districts, district 12. She is the sole provider for her family which consist of her mother who did not take the death of her husband well and her little sister Prim. Katniss is all these two people have. She goes out and hunts every day and sells and cooks everything she catches.

The Capitol, or government, has set up a reality show for all of Panem to watch called the hunger games. This is where two people from each district are picked to fight it out in an arena to the death. There can only be one winner. After a very dramatic drawing in district 12 the two contestants are chosen...Katniss and Peeta.

When the games begin Katniss realizes there is no point in teaming up with anyone because when its all said and done they will have to fight to the death anyway. This is hard for Peeta accept, especially considering he is madly in love with her.

This book is filled with stories of survival, love, trust, and betrayal. Because of this book I am an OFFICIAL fan of Suzanne Collins. I bought the book and plan on re-reading it many times because I know there are things that I missed in reading it. There is a sequel to this book, Catching Fire, that I am DYING to read. I have already ordered it online and I am IMpatiently waiting by the mailbox everyday for it to come. This book reminds me of why I love to read. When you can get so wrapped in a book, you feel like you know the characters, the author as accomplished what they should have. This book will have you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. If your anything like me it will have you laughing, crying, and cheering out loud! I am surprised at how much this book invoked emotions in me that no YA book has yet to do.

This book is an amazing read and I would suggest it to anyone who wants to take a journey outside of their own reality.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Rag and Bone Shop

This book written by Robert Cormier is a mystery/suspense story. It tells the story of a 12-year old boy, Jason. He is somewhat of an outsider. He does manage to make friends with a little girl named Alicia. The fact that she is only 7 does not seem to bother Jason. They spend time together doing things like jigsaw puzzles, which Alicia absolutely loves. When Alicia turns up dead the police have no physical evidence pointing to anyone as the culprit, so they rely on a "gut feeling" that Jason has committed this horrible crime. They call in an expert interrogator who is known for getting confessions to come in and try to get Jason to confess this crime. As Trent, the interrogator, is questioning young Jason we get mixed signals. He seems innocent but some of his actions may indicate otherwise.
Basically this story goes through the interrogation of a seemingly innocent child and the pressures of the police to satisfy the town with a confession so they can sleep at night knowing the killer has been caught. The reader gets taken on a journey through the life of this little boy and his relationship with the victim. We see how being alone in this small, dark, and clustered room with Trent leads Jason to discover something about himself no one ever could have suspected.

I think this book was a good read. It was really slow in the beginning especially with the character development. A book can always get on my good side if I can imagine the characters in my head. If i can see them outside of the book I feel like the author did a good job of giving me a sense of who the character is. I feel like Cormier could have done a better job with going more into the characters lives. Also, I would have liked him to go into more detail about the murder. For example the scene where Alicia was found was very descriptive; the way she was placed on the ground, how she was covered, and even her facial expression. I would have liked to know why all these things happened the way they did.

The book was also presented from multiple point of views. At times students may find this confusing, but after analyzing why the author would have done this, I feel like it was important. We get a sense of how the other characters in the story feel about Jason's innocence. Some characters refer to him as the young man, while others call him the culprit.

I liked this book for its suspenseful aspect as well as its amazing use of descriptive words. (Used GREAT vocabulary.) I would recommend it for sophomore level students.